28 July 2014
London Fire Brigade has published two guides specifically aimed at elected councillors in all 33 Greater London boroughs, to help ensure that they are keeping residential estates safe from fire.
The guides reinforce LFB’s ‘Know the Plan’ campaign, which helps landlords and housing providers act on their safety responsibilities and encourages residents of flats and maisonettes to find out what to do in the event of a fire in their building.
LFB says: “Publication of the guides follows YouGov research commissioned by the Brigade which showed 60% of all high rise residents – or around 760,000 high rise households – don’t have a fire escape plan. Around 50% said they would get out of their flat even if the fire was somewhere else in the block, which can be the most dangerous thing to do when a fire is not affecting your home.
“The first, for use during council meetings, outlines strategic and policy questions to ask about the fire safety of purpose-built blocks of flats and maisonettes, while the second focuses on what councillors should look out for during estate visits, and questions they should to put to managers and wardens.”
London Fire Brigade’s Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter says: “With their role as community leaders, enforcing authorities, partners to emergency services and as landlords themselves, local authorities and their elected members have a vital role to play in ensuring and promoting fire safety within their boroughs and promoting campaign work such as Know the Plan.
“It’s important that councillors don’t make assumptions that fire safety is being actively or effectively managed in purpose built blocks of flats and maisonettes in their boroughs, whoever is responsible for that housing.
“By scrutinising how responsibilities for fire safety are met in their area and ensuring that the fire safety in their borough is continuously monitored and improved, elected members not only help get our fire safety messages out into the community, they can help prevent complacency when it comes to managing fire safety issues in the capital’s purpose built managed buildings.”
Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.
Original source: London Fire Brigade