Fire service supports high-rise building safety

CUMBRIA Fire and Rescue Service is working together with fire and rescue services across the North West to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

One year ago (January 23, 2023), the Fire Safety England Regulations came into effect and implemented the majority of the recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in its Phase 1 report.

Over the past 12 months, fire safety teams across the North West have worked with councils, housing associations and managing agents to support compliance with the new laws and keep residents safe. This has included sharing information through online events, developing leaflets that can be distributed to residents and producing guidance and templates to support fault reporting.

To further support the safety of residents living in blocks of flats across the region, new video resources have been developed by the North West Protection Group – made up of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service – and have been made available on their respective websites.

The new material will be used to help organisations legally responsible for fire safety in high-rise buildings, and individuals working on their behalf, manage their buildings compliance with the regulations. The resources will also be used to better residents understanding of the fire safety arrangements in their buildings.

Ensuring that residents in all high-rise residential buildings across the North West have access to fire safety information will reduce the risk of fire and help residents feel safe in their homes. While the monthly checks on fire safety systems and equipment – which are now required by fire safety laws – will improve building safety and alert firefighters of essential firefighting equipment that isn’t working effectively.

In Cumbria, there are four high-rise residential buildings.

Lauren Woodward, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager, said: “Since the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, we have worked closely with our neighbouring fire and rescue service and the sector national to ensure we are best placed to assist in making the residents in Cumbria who live in high-rise buildings safe in their homes.

“This work has seen a collaborative multi-agency approach by local partners in Cumbria, including housing associations and management agents, to support compliance, provide education and engagement.
“The monthly checks now required by safety laws will ensure that buildings are safe and ensure that where essential firefighting equipment isn’t working effectively Firefighters are aware so we can adjust our response plans. These new videos supplement the information we have already provided and we hope these will support monthly checks to be undertaken effectively and residents can access information about fire safety in different ways.”
Mike Johnson, Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, said: “All residents deserve a safe home with minimal risk to fire. I’m pleased to see Cumbria taking steps to ensure that all our residents have access to fire safety information and can easily report faults in our high-rise buildings.

“The fire at Grenfell Tower was a devastating event that shook the nation, and we all want to ensure that this does not happen again.

“I’m really pleased to see the collaborative work coming into fruition and I would encourage all residents who live in high-rise buildings to read the materials that Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and partners have created to keep you safe.”

This is one of numerous projects being undertaken by the North West Protection Group to improve the standards of building and business safety across the region.
For more information on high-rise fire safety, including specific advice for both residents and responsible persons, visit www.cumbriafire.gov.uk/fire-safety-act-2021-and-fire-safety-england-regulations-2022


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