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A briefing from Poole Housing Partnership regarding fire safety in high rise blocks

A briefing from Poole Housing Partnership regarding fire safety in high rise blocks

15 June 2017

We are shocked and saddened at the recent tragic events at Grenfell Tower and pass on our sincere condolences to all those affected.

PHP manage six tower blocks, four in the Old Town and two at Sterte.  All have similar internal layouts, although Sterte has a cladded exterior and the blocks in the Old Town have an external render, which is very different from the cladding which has burned at recent high profile fires.

Whilst too early to comment on possible causes of this fire, we understand that tenants and leaseholders living in high rise blocks across Poole may be concerned.

PHP works very closely with Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue (DWFR) on all aspects of fire management, and currently undertakes the following activities to prevent and manage risk of fire:

  • All Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs)* are up to date and compliant
  • All high rise blocks have a regularly tested smoke evacuation system, which means that in the event of a fire, the ventilation system would disperse smoke from escape routes
  • Caretakers check stairwells and communal areas on a daily basis to ensure they are clear and the Housing Management Team work closely with residents to ensure blocks are safe.
  • All flats have smoke alarms
  • Dry risers (pipes that deliver water to upper floors) are checked regularly (these are used by the Fire Brigade in the event of a fire)
  • All flats have fire doors in place, which are checked regularly
  • Regular visits from DWFR, who were actually in the area today and stopped at Sterte to provide reassurance to residents and re-familiarise themselves with the layout

With regard to the recently refurbished Sterte Court blocks:

  • The external cladding system fitted complies with all current legislation. The insulation is fire resistant and there are fire barriers in place which exceed building regulations and would restrict fires from spreading both horizontally and vertically.
  • The smoke alarms in each flat were upgraded during the refurbishment, and all detectors are now hard wired, which removes the reliance on tenants to test and change batteries.

We cannot, of course, afford to be complacent and will work closely with the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service.  It is likely that it will take a number of months before the initial findings are available, and we will continue to focus on any emerging issues.

We have a number of staff visiting the tower blocks over the next few days to discuss any concerns raised with residents and provide reassurance if necessary.

For further information, please contact Lisa Mirkhandan, Media and Communications Officer, on 01202-264436.                                                                           

*Fire Risk Assessment is an assessment of the Fire Risks to occupants of a building and other people in the vicinity of a building and to ensure that those people are safe from the risk of fire and its effects.

Read our updated briefing document here.

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