High rise building fire safety update

22 June 2017

Following the tragic events of last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at Grenfell Tower in London, Waterloo Housing Group would like to reassure its residents regarding our two high-rise blocks at Elizabeth House and de Montfort House in Leicester.

The Group follows a very strict system to ensure the safety of our customers and we have a continuous programme of updating fire safety measures.  This includes replacing fire doors where necessary and checking that measures to prevent fire spreading are in place, such as installing sprinkler systems in bin stores.

Both of our high-rise blocks have annual fire safety checks (fire risk assessments) and any safety work identified is undertaken as a matter of priority.  Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service also independently carries out checks from time-to-time and alerts us to any further work identified by them, which is also undertaken promptly.

We inspect all fire doors and communal areas weekly to ensure they work correctly and are free from rubbish.

We believe our customers should not be alarmed by the events in London and fire safety in our high-rise blocks is of great importance to us.

We are monitoring information coming from events in London and are using this to identify what, if any, further work may be needed. Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service will also be attending both Elizabeth House and de Montfort House on 4 July to provide additional reassurance.

There are also a few important steps people can take to prevent fires starting or spreading:

  • Never leave your flat door open and unattended
  • Close all doors in corridors and on stairwells behind you and never prop them open. If you see a communal door open then please close it.
  • Do not leave rubbish or items in communal areas.  These can be a fire risk and, if there is a fire, prevent people from escaping easily.
  • Make sure you have working smoke and/or heat detectors in your flat
  • Make an escape plan so that you and your family are fully prepared if there's a fire in your flat.
  • Tell everyone in your home what the escape plan is and practise it.
  • Make sure exits are kept clear of obstructions
  • If it is too dangerous to follow your escape route because 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 prevent any smoke entering the room.
  • If you're trapped, go to a balcony/window to shout for help and wait for the fire and rescue service – DO NOT attempt to jump.
  • When leaving the building in the event of a fire, use the stairs and not the lift.
  • If there’s a fire in another flat elsewhere in the building, you are normally safest in your own flat, UNLESS you are affected by heat or smoke in any way.
  • In the event of a fire, never assume that someone else has called the fire and rescue service. Make sure your neighbours know about the fire. Bang on their doors on your way out and once outside, call 999.

We work with Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service on fire safety within our Tower Blocks and have been consulting with them closely since the fire in Grenfell Tower.

Further helpful advice from the Fire & Rescue Service can be found on their website (http://www.leicestershire-fire.gov.uk/2017/06/14/high-rise-building-fire-safety/)

If you have any concerns or queries about this information please speak to your Housing Officer who can be contacted on 0800 435 016 - this number is free from both landlines and mobiles.

You can also download and keep a copy of the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service News Release on "High-Rise Building Fire Safety"  below, and find more information about fire safety both for high-rise building and in general at the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue .GOV website

PDFLFRS News Release - Grenfell - 14.06.2017.pdf, 260 kDownload

Waterloo Housing Group are in a Primary Authority Scheme partnership with Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service