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Fire Safety In Flats

15th June 2017

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, along with fire and rescue services across the country, are shocked at the images and reports coming from the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower West London.

The Service offers deepest sympathy to those affected especially the friends and families of those who have lost their lives, all the emergency services, those assisting in the aftermath and the many others affected by this devastating fire. 

We would like to reassure people that although there are no high rise buildings of the same extent as the tower blocks in London and other major cities around the country, in North Yorkshire and the City of York, the Service does carry out inspections of  buildings where fire safety legislation (The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) applies.

This legislation applies only to the common areas of flats, and therefore applies to some buildings and parts of buildings where there are flats. The Housing Act 2004 is the principal legislation for flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and this legislation also includes fire safety.  The Service will be reviewing its current arrangements for conducting audit inspections within blocks of purpose built flats and buildings which have been converted to form flats, in conjunction with the eight local authority councils across North Yorkshire. 

If you are concerned about fire safety in your home we provide free home fire safety visits.  The visit involves fire service staff coming to your home to give you advice on fire safety actions you can take to reduce the risk of fire, and discuss escape routes should fire occur. As part of the visit the fire service staff may identify that you need smoke alarms fitting in your home if you don’t already have them, or that existing faulty alarms need replacing. To book a visit please go to our website www.northyorksfire.gov.uk or call 01609 788545.

Fire Safety advice if you live in flats

Living in a block of flats means you need to consider your fire safety and impact on those around you.  You should understand what to do in the event of a fire, whether it’s in your flat or somewhere else in the building.

Please ensure you have working smoke alarms fitted in your own flat as they can provide you with an early warning. 

Understand your own building procedures. These should be clearly signposted around the building. Know your escape plan and quickest way out and alternative exit routes. Make sure everyone know about them.

If it calls for a Full Evacuation – When the alarm sounds get everyone in your flat out of the building using emergency fire exit routes and stairs provided.

If it calls for you to Stay Put – Unless the fire is in your flat (or a direct neighbour’s flat), keep your front door and windows closed, tune into local TV or radio and await further instructions from the emergency services. Dial 999 (never assume someone else has called) and let the fire service know where in the building you are. 

If the fire is in your flat or a direct neighbour’s flat:

  • leave your flat and close the door
  • use the stairs - never the lift as if there is a power failure you may end up trapped inside.
  • get out stay out
  • call 999 (never assume someone else has called)

If the fire is elsewhere in the block and the fire service are outside:

  • close your doors and windows
  • stay in and tune in to your local TV or radio station
  • inform the fire service of where you are in the building
  • stay put unless advised by the fire service. If the fire service needs to fully evacuate the building they will knock door to door.

Be Prepared

  • fit at least one smoke alarm in your flat and test it on a regular basis
  • keep all exits clear both communal corridors and in your home
  • keep door and window keys near the exit
  • prepare a grab bag that you can take if you need to be evacuated. Think about prescriptions, documents such as your driving licence and passport, spare keys, a mobile phone, charger and a torch.
  • know how to isolate your gas, electric and water supply
  • get to know your neighbours. Would they need help in an emergency?

If you have any fire safety concerns about a building you can report them via our website here, by telephone on 01609 788545, or by visiting your local day crewed or shift crewed fire station (details of these are available on our website). All fire safety complaints and concerns are acted upon.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have created a booklet about fire safety in flats which you may find useful. You can download a copy here

Yorkshire Coast Homes have also produced a video on fire safety which you may find uesful: http://www.ych.org.uk/latest-news/video-fire-safety-at-yorkshire-coast-homes-736

Please be aware that NYFRS is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Information for those responsible for maintaining fire safety in flats

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority are a statutory consultee at the time when buildings are being designed, constructed, altered and sometimes refurbished. This means that if the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies, or will apply, when the building becomes occupied the Fire Authority are given opportunity to make comment to the Building Control or Approved Inspector about the fire safety measures being provided. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service deal with around 1,000 building regulation consultations annually.

There are a number of guidance documents which assist those responsible for maintaining fire safety and for those enforcing fire safety within flats. The principal guide documents are; 

There are also some key fire safety matters to ensure that buildings including flats are kept as safe as possible.

  • Ensure that a suitable and sufficient Fire Risk Assessment has been carried out and that it has been reviewed where necessary.
  • Ensure that any recommendations of the Fire Risk Assessment are carried out. The fire risk assessment should identify what general fire precautions are required within a building. That includes things like fire alarm and detection systems. Fire doors and fire separation. The fire risk assessment should also look at and evaluate what emergency plans are in place in the event of fire. 
  • Ensure that existing fire safety measures are routinely checked and maintained in working order. It is not just fire alarms and fire detectors. Fire doors, fire compartment walls, floors and ceilings play a vital role in fire safety.
  • Practice the emergency plan so that everyone in the building knows what to do in the event of a fire

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority encourage the use of sprinklers and other fire suppression systems such as water misting systems in both commercial and residential premises.

It is possible that a review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety legislation will be demanded and take place following the Grenfell House fire. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service would welcome any such review of the legislation.

 

 

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