Essex County Fire and Rescue issue safety advice for high-rise buildings

A devastating fire which tore through a block of flats in London killing at least six people has prompted Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to issue safety advice.

A blaze at Grenfell Tower, on Latimar Road, Kensington, has caused untold devastation, with hundreds of residents injured and many unaccounted for.

The 24-storey block is still ablaze 12 hours after the fire began in the early hours of the morning (June 14).

As a result of the horrific incident, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service have released a statement to reassure people who are concerned about the safety of high-rise buildings.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this tragic incident as well as our emergency services colleagues who are working together in extremely challenging conditions to save lives and prevent further harm.

“It would be wrong to speculate about the cause of the fire until a full investigation has been carried out.

“However, what we know at this time is that incidents of this type are extremely rare, and it is likely to be one of the worst in our country’s history.

“We have 121 high-rise buildings in Essex, and it is vital that people who live in those buildings know exactly what to do in the event of a fire so that they can protect themselves and their families. We have all the information you need on our website.

“I also want take this opportunity to remind everyone that Essex County Fire and Rescue Service carry out home fire safety visits to anyone living in Essex completely free of charge where we will run through escape plans and fit smoke alarms.”

High-rise accommodation advice:

It is important for your own safety to understand what to do in the event of a fire, whether it’s in your flat or somewhere else in the building.

If there is a fire in your flat:

  • Follow your escape plan: get everyone out, stay out, call 999
  • Close all doors behind you as you leave, to contain the fire
  • If safe to do so, activate the fire alarm if there is one
  • Walk down the nearest stairs or through the nearest fire exit- do not use the lift

If there is a fire, but not in your flat:

  • Close your doors and windows
  • Stay put unless advised by the fire service
  • Call the fire service on 999 – never assume that someone else has already done so – you could save someone’s life

If trapped in your flat by fire:

  • Get everyone to the safest room within the flat, furthest from the smoke/heat entry point is best
  • Call the fire service on 999 – and tell them your flat and floor number

If the fire service needs to fully evacuate the building they will knock door to door.

Protect your home:

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm in your flat
  • Test your smoke alarm once a month
  • Never take the batteries out
  • Always follow the manufacturers advice

Be prepared:

  • Keep all exits clear both communal corridors and in your home
  • Keep door and window keys near the exit
  • Prepare a grab bag that you can take if you need to be evacuated (think about prescriptions, documents such as your driving licence and passport, spare keys, a mobile phone, charger and a torch)
  • Get to know your neighbours. Are they young, elderly or vulnerable? They may need assistance in an emergency

To book your free safety visit call 0300 303 0088 or book online here.