Buckinghamshire Fire & 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.
Group commander Richard Priest, who is responsible for fire safety in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.
“It would be wrong to speculate about the cause until a full investigation has been carried out by the appropriate authorities.
“However, what we do know is that fires of this type are rare. High-rise buildings are designed to resist fire, stop the spread of smoke and provide a safe means of escape. Most fires don’t spread further than one or two rooms.
“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.
“This is particularly important for the more vulnerable members of our communities, such as the over-60s, under-fives and people with mobility issues.
“I would like to assure everybody that Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service carries out regular inspections of high-rise buildings in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, and that our crews regularly carry out training at them.
“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.”
The picture (above) was taken at a training exercise carried out at Mellish Court in Bletchley.
Advice for people living in high-rise accommodation:
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.
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.
Use the stairs, not the lift, when leaving the building in the event of a fire.
If there’s a fire in another flat in the building, you’re usually safest in your own home, unless you’re affected by the heat or smoke.
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 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.
Please don’t start cooking if you are very tired or have consumed a lot of alcohol.
If you smoke, make sure you put your cigarettes out properly, and don’t smoke in bed.
If you would like a free assessment of the fire risks in your home, and free smoke alarms where they are needed, ring Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service on 01296 744477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org