Advice for residents following tragic tower block fire

crop-2Statement from Cleveland Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Ian Hayton:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been affected by the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London today.

“Cleveland Fire Brigade understands that residents in our local community who live in high rise accommodation may be concerned for their safety therefore we wish to reassure residents and offer them a Home Fire Safety Visit.

“Residents should note that fires of this nature are extremely rare. High-rise buildings are designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke and provide a safe means of escape for occupants and most fires are contained within the room of origin.

“We work with both partners and housing providers to ensure that these premises comply with Fire Safety Legislation and Brigade Officers undertake regular inspections of the buildings throughout the Cleveland area.

“It is vital that people know what to do in the event of a fire so that they can protect themselves and their families.  This is particularly important for the more vulnerable members of our communities, such as the over-60s, under-fives and people with mobility issues. The following advice is intended to keep you safe should a fire occur.”

Advice for people living in high-rise accommodation:

  • Make an escape plan so that you and your family are fully prepared if there’s a fire in your flat.
  • Make sure exits are kept clear of obstructions, and doors to stairways are not damaged or faulty.
  • If it is too dangerous to follow your escape route because the stairs and hallways are filled with smoke, ring 999 and stay inside the safest room. Keep the door closed and use towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block the smoke.
  • If you’re trapped, go to the balcony – but don’t think about jumping. Wait for the fire and rescue service.
  • Use the stairs, not the lift, when leaving the building in the event of a fire.
  • If there’s a fire in another flat in the building, you’re usually safest in your own home, unless you’re affected by the heat or smoke.
  • In the event of a fire, never assume that someone else has called 999. Make sure your neighbours know about the fire. Bang on their doors on your way out.
  • Never tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on landings. These provide water to firefighters when there’s an emergency. It could cost lives if they’re not working properly when there’s a fire.
  • If you see a dry riser vandalised or damaged, report it immediately to the manager of the building.
  • Never park so you block access to high-rise flats. Access roads are designed so that fire engines can get as close as possible to fight fires.
  • Please don’t start cooking if you are very tired or have consumed a lot of alcohol.
  • If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarettes out properly, and don’t smoke in bed.

Residents living in high-rise properties can request a free Home Fire Safety Visit by calling 01429 874063.