Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service is providing advice and reassurance to people who are concerned about fire safety following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London.
Group Manager Justin Sharp, who is the Head of Fire Safety in Cornwall, said “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy, including families and friends of those that have lost their lives, residents and our emergency service colleagues who continue to deal with a devastating and complex incident.
“It would be wrong at this stage to speculate about the cause of the fire until a full investigation has been carried out and its findings known. Thankfully fires of this type are extremely rare; however, we understand that such an incident does cause alarm and raise concerns with people living in similar buildings.
“High-rise buildings are designed to resist fire, stop the spread of smoke and provide a safe means of escape. Most fires do not spread further than the flat of origin.
“I would like to assure everybody that Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service carries out regular inspections of blocks of flats, including Park House Flats, the only high-rise building in Cornwall, which is owned and managed by Ocean Housing, and fully complies with current fire safety regulations”.
“It is essential that people know 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 60’s and people with mobility issues.”
Blocks of flats will have their own fire plan and occupants should make themselves aware of the specific advice that relates to the building in which they live.
If there is a fire inside your flat our advice is to alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.
If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, then the structure of your flat – walls, floors and doors are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire. If there is a fire in your building, but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to say in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you. If you stay put, you should still call 999.
Councillor Andrew Mitchell, the Cabinet Member for Homes, said “This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with everyone affected. It is very understandable if residents are concerned about their own properties.
“Our organisations would like to reassure residents that fire safety precautions are given the highest priority across all of the properties we manage. All blocks of flats have fire risk assessments in place and are subject to regular inspection and review.
“Park House flats, Cornwall’s only high rise block, fully complies with current fire safety regulations. The construction of the block is designed to prevent the spread of fire between flats and between floors. Each flat is designed as a self-contained fire resisting compartment that will contain a fire and limit its spread.
“The building has a comprehensive fire detection system that will alert occupants to a fire in the common areas and/or rooms off the protected means of escape. Each flat has its own fire detection. These systems are routinely tested and serviced. In the unlikely event that residents need to leave the building due to fire, the block has a fire protected escape route.”
There was a fire at Park House in 2014, on the ninth floor and 20 residents had to be evacuated for the night. There were no injuries.
Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service will be joining with Ocean Housing at Park House flats between 9 am and 12 noonon Tuesday, 20 June to answer questions and provide reassurance to residents. Fire safety officers will be available for specialist advice and operational crews will be offering home fire safety checks.
For more fire safety advice and information visitwww.cornwall.fire.gov.uk