We've had a lot of residents write to us about the safety of tower blocks in Portsmouth. The following advice has been issued to all residents in high rise blocks by Portsmouth City Council:
"As you are undoubtedly aware there was a tragic fire yesterday at Grenfell House, which is a high rise tower block in London. I want to reassure you that Portsmouth City Council has worked closely with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to develop a fire safety strategy over the past few years to ensure that your tower block is safe.
This includes undertaking fire risk assessments that are regularly reviewed, undertaking recommended improvements to the building such as installing fire doors and emergency lighting as necessary to comply with latest fire safety guidance, ensuring that electrical inspections and gas inspections where appropriate are carried out, installing smoke detectors to properties and detection systems to parts of communal areas, as well as regularly inspecting communal areas and managing any identified risks.
Your building has been designed and built with fire safety in mind providing fire separation and containment with protected fire escape routes. Portsmouth City Council tower blocks have had occasional instances of fires within flats over the past few years, in every instance the fire has been contained within the property where the fire commenced, all other neighbouring residents have not been impacted whilst the fire service fights the fire.
However living in a high rise block you also need to consider your own fire safety and the impact that you could have on other residents. 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 you should;
- Leave and evacuate the property
- Close all doors behind you
- Use the stairs and never use the lift when evacuating the building as the fire may cause a power failure trapping you inside
- Get out and stay out, never assume that someone else has phoned the fire service so call 999.
If the fire is elsewhere in the block you should;
- Close your doors and windows
- Stay put unless advised by the fire service or your property begins to become affected by the fire,
- If the fire service needs to fully evacuate the building they will knock door to door.
- Your tower block has designed to delay the spread of fire, so you will be safe in your home
You can help us prevent the risk of fire by;
- Not smoking in communal areas
- Keeping them clear of any personal belongings or rubbish.
- Never bringing gas bottles or similar into the block
- Don’t block emergency access routes to your building
- Check your hard wired smoke detector is working on a weekly basis
- Always allow us access to undertake electric or gas tests as appropriate.
Once again I would like to reassure you that we regularly evaluate fire safety in our blocks of flats as part of our continuing work with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.
There undoubtedly will be speculation in the media, however for latest fire safety advice I would direct you to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue website www.hantsfire.gov.uk where latest information on fire safety is available.
Alternatively if you have any concerns regarding fire safety or wish to discuss any aspect of safety to your block or raise a repair or check if you need to have a gas or electric test carried out or a new smoke detector installed, please contact our Repairs Support team on 023 9284 1311."