Updated fire safety information
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Updated fire safety information

​​Following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in London, we understand that people will be concerned about the safety of their own homes. The safety and wellbeing of our tenants is very important to us and we have pledged that lessons will be learnt from this incident.

The Council works very closely with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services to deal with fire safety issues to deliver improvements on fire safety and to ensure that we offer good advice. We believe that none of our high rise blocks across the City have been installed with a similar cladding system to the one installed at Grenfell Tower. Within Leeds we have a number of blocks where cladding has been installed over many years and are confident that these meet Fire Safety Regulations and also followed the standards of construction as specified in Building Regulations.

We also believe that in all our blocks we have used fire retardant materials, and we are working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Services, and a specialist contractor, to provide the required re-assurance. Across the City we inspect all our high rise blocks daily to ensure that any fire hazards are removed as a matter of urgency. As part of this process we also conduct a full Fire Risk Assessment on an annual basis which will identify any fire safety improvement work and this has resulted in over £12m of additional investment being spent on our high rise stock over the last 3 years.

We will be working with local community groups to understand how we can provide further re-assurance to residents in individual blocks across the City and how best to keep residents up to date with developments.

Senior Officers from Housing Leeds have been visiting multi-storey blocks across the city, listening to residents’ concerns following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. As well as listening, we wanted to reassure you that your safety in the homes you rent from the council is extremely important to us. We met lots of people at the sessions and discussed a wide range of things relating to fire safety. There were also local issues raised about some individual blocks which we will work on with residents in those blocks.

The main issues raised, what is happening about them and frequently asked questions are available to read (PDF 0.2MB).

Information about fire safety is available in our Fire safety leaflet (PDF 0.4MB).

If you require any additional information, or wish to discuss your concerns in more detail, please contact your local housing office or email highrisefiresafetysupport@leeds.gov.uk.

Below we have provided some further important information about fire safety in high rise blocks.

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Click to expandStaying safe

Our advice to residents living in a high rise blocks:

  • Make sure that you have an escape plan and all members of your household know what to do if there was a fire in your flat
  • Make sure everybody understands your escape plan and knows where the door key is kept

Click to expandFire Safety in the building

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  • Keep exits and passageways clear of any obstructions
  • Close all internal doors at night to prevent any spread of fire
  • Never use, or store, bottled gas cylinders in high rise blocks
  • Always report faulty doors on staircases
  • Never tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on the landings
  • Never park your vehicles in a designated parking space for emergency services
  • Do not start cooking if you are very tired or have drunk a lot of alcohol. Never use a chip pan
  • If you smoke make sure that you put cigarettes out properly, and don’t smoke in bed or while sleep

Fire precautions in Multi-storey blocks: frequently asked questions

What fire safety equipment should there be in high rise blocks, and how is it inspected and maintained?

 

Fire extinguishers - are provided in risk rooms such as electrical room, plant rooms, lift motor room and are for use by trained staff at work. We do not provide them in public areas as it can lead to untrained members of the public putting themselves at risk.

 

Fire Blankets – are not provided in individual flats, but are available within communal kitchens.

 

Service and inspection contracts are in place to ensure all equipment is serviced and tested in accordance with British Standards or any relevant legislation.

Why doesn’t my block have a common fire alarm system?

 

Each flat has its own stand-alone detection and alarm which will not normally be linked to any other area of the block.

 

If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of your flat – walls, floors and doors – is designed to protect you.

 

If there is a fire in your building but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you.

 

This evacuation strategy means that the majority of blocks of flats are not designed with a common alarm system.

Should my block have emergency lighting?

Some blocks do have emergency lighting.  For the remaining blocks we will be installing emergency lighting as part of future investment in upgrading electrics.

What fire signage do you provide?

 

Housing Leeds provides a fire action notice next to the Passenger Lifts, this clearly states the action to be taken in the event of a fire in your flat and if another flat is involved.

 

The notices also tell you about keeping public areas clear, and not smoking in the building.

How often are dry risers checked to ensure that they work?

Dry risers are checked every 6 months.

Do the entrance doors automatically open or do they just unlock?

In sheltered housing where fire alarms are installed, the entrance door automatically unlocks when the fire alarm goes off.

Should all flat entrance doors be fire doors, including owner occupiers?

Yes, all flat entrance doors should be fire doors.  Where we find that fire doors are not present we will make contact with residents to ensure fire doors are installed to all flats.

Is it ok that there is a gap under my fire door?

These gaps are normal.  As smoke rises, there would usually be little smoke seepage under a fire door.

Are our fire stairs too narrow? Is one staircase enough?

 

The stairs are designed to be protected from fire. They are designed to lead people safely to the ground floor and to the open air, if the fire service have asked people to evacuate.  They are designed to safely carry the numbers of people who will join at each level.

What is our policy for checking the safety of electrics within blocks

An Electrical Installation Periodic Inspection and Test is completed dependant on the engineers’ recommendation up to a maximum of 5 years.

We see people ignoring the ‘no smoking’ signs in the hallways and lifts

There is a clear smoking policy to ensure public safety. If you are worried by people’s behaviour you should talk to your local housing office.

What should we do if there is a fire? 

 

Is there a ‘stay put’ policy?

 

The advice that we would give in the event of fire in a high rise block is:

• Raise the alarm if possible.

• Call the Fire Brigade on 999.

• If your flat is affected by smoke or fire, leave the building.

• If your flat is not affected, and you consider it safe to do so, you may remain in your flat until advised by the Fire Service.

• If you need to evacuate the building use the staircase. Never use the lift

Why are items banned from communal areas?

To minimise the risk of fires being started, or spreading, we ask you not to store furniture, carpets, rubbish and some other items in communal areas.  Keeping these areas clear also helps people escape safely if they need to evacuate the block.

 

Housing Officers can advise you about what kind of items are safe for communal areas in your block. If you are worried about items in communal areas you should talk to your local housing office, so an officer can check up and remove things if necessary.

Is it ok for residents to have gas bottles in flats?

 

Residents should not have LPG or propane gas bottles in flats, as both increase the risk of a fire.  If you worried about other residents not taking fire safety seriously, please let us know.

Is it safe for residents to bring mobility scooters into the block?

 

It is important that mobility scooters are not left in communal areas, as they may be a fire risk to residents. 

 

Where possible scooters should be stored in a designated scooter store (if available in your block).  If you wish to store a scooter within your property it is important that you ask permission, and permission is only granted if there is a safe storage space within your flat. 

 

We are currently reviewing our Scooter Policy to ensure that we are supporting residents as much as possible to store scooters safely.

Click to expandWhat you should do if there is a fire

  • If there is a fire in another flat in the building, you are usually safest in your own home unless you are affected with heat or smoke
  • If it is too dangerous to follow your planned escape route, ring 999 and stay inside the safest room
  • Keep the doors closed and use towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block the smoke
  • If you leave the building due to a fire use the stairs, do not use the lift
  • If there is a fire never assume that somebody has called 999 make the call yourself

Click to expand'Stay Put' Policy

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  • Raise the alarm if possible
  • Call the Fire Brigade on 999
  • If your flat is affected by smoke or fire, leave the building
  • If your flat is not affected, and you consider it safe to do so, you may remain in your flat until advised by the Fire Service
  • Evacuate the building using the staircase. Never use the lift
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