Wealden reassures tenants about fire safety after Grenfell tragedy

Wealden Council is reassuring its tenants about fire safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.fire-safety (1)

The council says:

  • It does not manage high rise developments,
  • External cladding has not been fitted to any council properties, and
  • All blocks have up to date fire risk assessments and fire precautions

The council also says it has an on-going programme of improvements works to ensure fire doors remain in good working order, compartmentalisation has not been breached and replacement doors and alterations to existing doors meet requirements.

A bulletin to councillors says there are around 100 blocks of flats within the council’s housing stock.

These comprise two four-storey blocks and seven three-storey blocks. The remaining blocks are all two-storey.

Tragic events

Councillors are told: “Naturally the tragic events of Grenfell tower have prompted us to review our programmes of work, procedures and our stay put policy.

“We have up to date fire risk assessments on all of our blocks of flats and retirement living
courts.

“In addition we have an ongoing programme of upgrade, repair and improvement works
to ensure compliance with fire safety requirements.

“We also have a rigorous communal area management inspection regime. An action plan has been formed for ongoing fire safety improvements.

“We have also been working and will continue to work closely with our specialist Fire
Consultant, other local authority partners and the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.”

Statement to residents

The council’s statement to residents says fire safety is a key priority and continues:

“The recent tragic events have naturally heightened everyone’s concerns around fire safety but we would seek to reassure our tenants that fire safety has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us.

“We would like to reassure our tenants, their families, carers and our support providers that we have not fitted external cladding to any of our properties and do not manage high rise developments.

“All our blocks have up to date fire risk assessments which confirm we have appropriate fire precautions in place.

“We have an on going programme of improvements works to ensure fire doors remain in good working order, compartmentalisation has not been breached and replacement doors and alterations to existing doors meet requirements.

‘Stay put’

“If you live in a flat our advice is to ’stay put’ until you receive advice from the emergency services to do differently.

“If smoke, heat or flames enter your home and only if it is safe to do so, leave straight away. This guidance is in line with that given by the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

“We ask all of our tenants to:

  • Check your smoke detector is working. You are strongly advised to carry out regular tests of the smoke alarm for your own safety. You are responsible for making sure that your smoke alarm is in constant working order. You must inform us if the smoke alarm is not in constant working order.
  • Talk to members of your household about what to do in the event of a fire and practice using your escape route.
  • Do not leave items in the communal hallways – bikes, pushchairs, shoes, plants etc. Whilst we understand that this may be for a good reason, they do create a hazard. Should there be a fire, the corridors could fill with smoke, reducing visibility. In these circumstances, people can trip over items left in the hallways, and it can severely restrict the time taken to evacuate a building, or hinder access for fire-fighters.

“We regularly check communal areas to make sure they are clear of any stored items which could cause fire to spread or cause obstruction.

“You will be asked to remove any items found. Any items not removed may be removed by the Council.

“If you have any further concerns regarding fire safety please do not hesitate to contact us on 01323 443322 or for further advice visit ESFRS fire safety advice for flats and maisonettes.”

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