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High rise safety

13 June 2019

As the second anniversary approaches of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower in London, Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents of what to do in the event of a high-rise fire.

High rise safety

High-rise buildings are designed to prevent the spread of fire through the use of specialist doors, walls and ceilings which are constructed to stop the flow of smoke and fire. In fact, most fires in high-rise flats/apartments do not spread further than one or two rooms.

You should always ensure your flat/apartment has working fire-detection devices such as smoke alarms – these are proven to halve the risk fire-related deaths in properties. If you live in a high-rise building, you must know and understand what to do in the event of a fire. 

Niall McKiniry, HFRS Director of Service Improvement, explains:

"Since the awful events of June 2017, we have worked closely with local authorities, building owners and residents to look at all of our high rise tower blocks. All such buildings have been inspected and we have reviewed existing procedures and updated them where necessary as well as increasing training and familiarisation visits to high rise in the area. 

"We would like to reassure residents there are no tower blocks in the Humberside area which use the same cladding as that used on Grenfell Tower.  Whilst this audit of all buildings has shown up one or two minor minor faults, our local authotities began a programme of work to bring thir buildings into line with current legislation. It is the residents however who can play a significant part in an incident even before our arrival."     

[photos are taken from an 2018 exercise held in now demolished tower blocks in Grimsby]

Know Your Building’s Evacuation Plan

If you live in a high-rise building, you must know and understand what to do in the event of a fire. Each building is unique and will have its own evacuation plan which should be posted in communal areas of the building.

If the fire is in your flat or you feel threatened by fire, heat or smoke you should evacuate immediately.

You should familiarise yourself and those who live in the flat/apartment with fire escape routes, fire exits etc. in the building.

Keep communal areas, staircases and exits clear of rubbish or personal belongings such as bikes, mobility scooters or furniture.

If you are evacuating:

  • follow your escape plan
  • 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
  • alert neighbours to the danger by banging on their doors
  • walk down the nearest stairs or through the nearest fire exit
  • DO NOT use the lift
  • call the fire service on 999 – NEVER assume that someone else has already done so – you could save someone’s life
  • if you are in any doubt, GET OUT, STAY OUT and DIAL 999

If you are trapped in your flat:

  • get everyone to the safest room within the flat, furthest from the smoke/heat entry point is best
  • keep the door closed
  • call the fire service on 999 – and tell us your flat and floor number
  • use towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to prevent any smoke entering the room
  • go to a balcony or window to shout for help and wait for the fire and rescue service
  • DO NOT attempt to jump

Always report any damage to firefighting equipment, fire alarms, fire doors or fire escapes to your housing provider.