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NFRS Service Statement on Grenfell Towers – High Rise Buildings

From Area Manager Garry Collins – Head of Fire Protection. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

NFRS Service Statement on Grenfell Towers – High Rise Buildings

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service are saddened by the tragedy that is unfolding at Grenfell Towers in London. Our Thoughts are with the people of London and the firefighters who are working so hard in extremely challenging conditions. We do not intend to comment on the circumstances around this incident at this stage.

Thankfully, fires of this type are rare. High-rise buildings and regulations are very stringent and are designed to resist fire and stop the spread of smoke to provide a safe exit for residents. Most fires do not spread further than one or two rooms and rarely beyond the flat where they started.

We would like to assure everybody that Norfolk Fire & Rescue Service carries out inspections of high-rise buildings in our county. We hold information for these buildings to help our firefighters. Our crews also carry out familiarisation visits and training exercises. The most recent of these exercises were in Normandie Towers on 18th and 25th May. We have detailed operational procedures for high rise buildings which we review periodically. Any lessons learned from incidents including today's Grenfell Tower fire will be incorporated into procedures.

We also undertake Home Fire Risk Checks and install smoke alarms which are your early warning of fire.

How can residents keep safe?

The best thing people can do is ensure they take care and prevent fires occurring in the first place.

Beware of smoking materials, candles and overloading electrical sockets. Take care when cooking and never leave a stove unattended.

We cannot stress enough the need for working smoke alarms in flats so that people get the very earliest warning of fire in their own home.

If a fire occurs in their own home they should GET OUT / STAY OUT and Call 999 – closing doors behind them.

OR. ..If you can see Fire, Hear Fire or Smell Fire - GET OUT / STAY OUT and Call 999

In more complex building such as high rise residents should be aware and follow the fire evacuation guidance for their building. Know your building

Top Tips for people living in high-rise accommodation:

  • If you hear a fire alarm – do not ignore it.
  • Understand your own building procedures. These should be clearly signposted around the building. Know your escape plan escape plan and quickest way out and alternative exit routes. Make sure everyone know about them.
  • Keep exits and lobbies clear of obstructions, rubbish and combustible items.
  • If you cannot leave your flat 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 can safely leave  - Get out, Stay Out and sound the alarm
  • Use the stairs, not the lift.
  • 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 any fire safety equipment including internal fire mains (dry riser) on landings. These provide water to firefighters when there is an emergency. It could cost lives if they’re not working properly when there’s a fire.
  • If you see any equipment or fire doors vandalised or damaged - REPORT IT immediately to the manager of the building.
  • If you have any concerns about the safety of your building REPORT IT to your landlord immediately.

More information about protecting yourself from fire can be found on our website at Safety-in-your-home

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