Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is providing advice and reassurance to people who are concerned about the safety of high-rise buildings following this morning’s fire at Grenfell Tower in London (June 14).
Chief Fire officer Chris Strickland said: “Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with everyone who has been affected by this devastating incident, especially with the families and friends of those that have lost their lives or are waiting to hear news about their loved ones.
“It would be wrong to speculate about the cause of the fire until a full investigation has been carried out by the appropriate authorities. However, what we do know is that fires of this type are extremely rare.
“We work with local authorities, developers, and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high rise accommodation are safe and appropriate. High-rise buildings are designed to resist fire, stop the spread of smoke and provide a safe means of escape.
“It is, of course, vital that people remember exactly what to do in the event of a fire so that they can protect themselves and their families, and also that they have a working smoke alarm in their flat that they test regularly.
“I would like to assure residents that we carry out regular inspections of high-rise buildings in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and that our crews train at these locations to familiarise themselves with procedures.
“I met with our fire protection officers today and we will be revisiting the high rise buildings we do have in the coming days just to offer further reassurance to residents and to check stairwells, exit routes and firefighting equipment.
“Any lessons learned from the investigation into today’s Grenfell Tower fire will be incorporated into planning arrangements for dealing with incidents at high-rise properties.”
Advice to residents in high rise accommodation from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service:
-If there is a fire inside your flat, you should alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.
-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.
-If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of your flat – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire. If there is a fire in your building but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you. If you stay put you should still immediately call 999 and advise the fire service where in the building you are.
-Follow advice from the emergency services – this is vitally important as different situations may require different courses of action.
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.
-If your flat is not fitted with a smoke alarm, fit one yourself and test it regularly.
-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 where the door key is. Practise what you would do if you had a real fire.
-Make sure exits are kept clear of obstructions, and doors to stairways are not damaged or faulty.
-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 use or store bottled gas cylinders in high-rise flats.
-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.
-If you are concerned about a resident who you believe is at greater risk of fire, for example, is elderly or has a mobility issue, please contact us so we can visit for free and carry out a Safe and Well visit. Call 08009179994 to arrange a visit.