Fire safety in Haringey homes
Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who lost their lives or have been affected by the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy this week.
Haringey and other local authorities across London are supporting the efforts to find accommodation for all those who have lost their homes or been temporarily evacuated from the area.
The newly established Grenfell Fire Response Team – which brings together London-wide local and regional government, central government, British Red Cross, the Metropolitan Police and the London Fire Brigade – has issued a statement, which you can read on the London Councils website (external link).
The tragedy has understandably raised a number of questions and concerns about safety in housing across London. Homes for Haringey, the arms length management organisation responsible for council housing in the borough, is working to support and reassure local tenants and has also written a series of questions and answers, which you can read below.
Further information can also be found on the Homes for Haringey website.
How many tower blocks do you own?
The London Borough of Haringey owns 54 blocks over 6 storeys high that are managed by Homes for Haringey
How many storeys high are the tower blocks?
The tower blocks range from 6 storeys to 19 storeys.
Is the cladding on any of the Homes for Haringey managed blocks the same cladding as used at Grenfell House?
None of our blocks have the Reynobond aluminium cladding system that was used on Grenfell Tower.
What type of cladding has been used?
Twelve of the blocks we manage have external cladding. These blocks have 'insulated render systems'. This system is made with a mineral fibre insulation that is non-flammable. The insulation is bonded to the wall, meaning there is no gap and therefore no 'chimney effect' behind the cladding. We have also used stainless steel fixings too, which will remain stable even if exposed to fire.
What safety standards are applied to blocks that have cladding?
The systems that we use comply with the Building Regulations and the associated Approved Documents (in England and Wales these are AD-B Volume 1, Section B4 for domestic dwellings, and AD-B Volume 2 Section B4 for non-domestic buildings), which set out the fire performance requirements for buildings.
I have cladding on my block and I am worried - what should I do?
At this stage, it is important to remember that we do not yet know what caused the fire or why it spread in the way that it did. However, it is only natural that some questions will be asked about the fire safety plans in place in some of our own multi-storey tower blocks and the use of exterior cladding in our properties. All of our cladding meets the specifications for this type of work and complies with building regulations.
Have Homes for Haringey used the contractors or sub-contractors who refurbished Grenfell House?
Homes for Haringey have not used the contractors or subcontractors who refurbished Grenfell House.
How do Homes for Haringey manage fire safety?
We take the safety of our residents seriously. All of our tower blocks have valid Fire Risk Assessments and we regularly check the communal areas and service the fire-fighting equipment in your building. We also pay close attention to fire safety whenever we carry out repairs and improvements to blocks.
Our current fire strategy is in line with government guidelines and we monitor and implement any changes that are directed by the London Fire Brigade, London Government Association and Central Government. Our procedures are kept under regular review by the Homes for Haringey board and committee scrutiny structure.
Does my high-rise block have smoke alarms?
All Homes for Haringey tenants in high-rise blocks will have had a hard-wired smoke alarm fitted in their individual property. The back-up battery lasts for 10 years and will be regularly checked and maintained by Homes for Haringey. However, residents must report any suspected issues with their unit to Homes for Haringey so that we can come out and investigate.
Does my high-rise block have fire extinguishers?
Homes for Haringey tower blocks, in line with Building Regulations, will have wet/dry riser fire-fighting systems for use by the emergency services. We don’t provide fire extinguishers as we would not advise residents to fight a fire as it would put them at greater risk, and any person using fire extinguishers needs to be trained. Our advice is to go to a safe place and call 999.
Any resident can choose to buy a fire blanket or a multipurpose fire extinguisher for their own home. If you do, carefully read the instructions and guidance provided.
What do you advise residents of high-rise blocks to do if a fire breaks out?
There will be an evacuation notice in the common area of your property that indicates what to do in the case of a fire. The current advice from the London fire Brigade is “Stay Put” unless the Fire Brigade advise you to evacuate. We advise residents to ensure they are aware of the evacuation procedures that apply to their block.
If you need assistance with the evacuation procedures or have any concerns, please let your estate manager or concierge know. If you are worried about fire safety in your building or if you would like printed copies of our fire safety fact-sheets, ask your estate manager or concierge.
Are all fire risk assessments up to date?
All Homes for Haringey managed tower blocks have valid Fire Risk Assessments with established processes for ongoing monitoring including regular checks within the communal areas and regular servicing of fire-fighting equipment.
Who do Homes for Haringey use to do the fire risk inspections and how are they competent?
Homes for Haringey employ two full time appropriately qualified Fire Risk assessors. Our fire risk assessors are competent based on the necessary skills, knowledge and experience in line with government guidelines to be able to complete fire risk assessments to the appropriate standard.
What action is taken when a fire risk assessment is done and recommendations are made?
When a fire risk assessment is done an assessor reviews all of the fire safety arrangements within the block which includes compartmentalisation (limits fire from spreading), signage, evacuation routes, fire doors and closers, emergency lighting, and access for emergency services. When the fire risk assessor identifies a defect, they raise a repair which will be undertaken by Homes for Haringey’s repairs service or a specialist contractor. Where upgrades are recommended they will be prioritised for inclusion in a future stock investment programme.
Are Homes for Haringey taking any additional actions after the Grenfell House tragedy? Has access for emergency vehicles to my block been checked?
Homes for Haringey staff have visited every high rise block and inspected the communal areas and access routes to ensure they are clear. As an additional measure of re-assurance during the next week our fire risk assessors will be visiting every high rise block to review the fire risk assessments and speak to residents.
What do I do if I have a Hotpoint fridge freezer?
Owners should register their appliance with the manufacturer to receive any future updates and recall notices. Check you model number which is usually found on a barcode sticker behind the salad container in the fridge.
Anyone who has a white Hotpoint fridge freezer model number FF175BP, or graphite fridge freezer model number FF175BG, should ring Hotpoint on 0800 316 3826 or visit the Hotpoint website (external link).
These models were discontinued in 2009, but 64,000 were sold between March 2006 and July 2009. It is not known how many are still in use.
More general advice on registering an appliance and other safety tips are available on the Electrical Safety First website (external link).
How do people find out the answers to questions or worries they may have? Who do they contact and how? Which websites have the information?
Please let your estate manager or concierge know if you are worried about fire safety in your building or if you would like printed copies of our fire safety fact sheets.
What about any non-council owned tower blocks?
We are working with the private sector to ensure we have a record of all high rise blocks in the borough, and to fully understand any challenges they might face.
Newlon Housing, who operate some properties in Haringey, have issued a statement, which you can read on their website here (external link).
Metropolitan have also put measures in place to ensure the safety of their residents in the event of a fire - read the Metropolitan letter (PDF, 112KB).
You can also contact us on 020 8489 5611 or email email@example.com with any additional concerns.
Please check out Homes for Haringey’s and the London Fire Brigade’s websites for more information
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