Published June 25, 2019
Fire chiefs in Manchester backed Governments warnings to remove combustible materials from tower block balconies.
They say residents should remove anything that could easily burn to save lives following the Barking tower block horror.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Prevention and Protection Tony Hunter backed the advice.
Twenty homes were destroyed and 27 others badly damaged after fire spread through six floors raising wooden balconies to the ground after a fire at a Barking tower block fire earlier this month.
Mr Hunter, said: “We will work with residents and those responsible for buildings to understand the risk and provide advice on how to minimise the risk of a fire occurring.
“This is a good opportunity to remind all residents living in flats how to keep themselves safe from fire, and to know what to do if a fire did occur in their flat or elsewhere in the building.
“If you have a fire keep calm and act quickly – get everyone out of the property call 999 and follow the procedures for your building.
“If you have concerns about balconies on your building in the first instance contact your Landlord or the Managing Agent for your building.”
The warning comes following advice issued by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in wake of the Barking fire.
Residents were forced to break through doors as they fled for their lives. Some of the damage will take six to eight months to make the apartments habitable again.
The building was not protected by fire sprinklers or fire systems likes those retrofitted by Protect24.
MHCLG said it had consulted its expert panel on fire safety and decided: “The removal and replacement of any combustible material used in balcony construction is the clearest way to prevent external fire spread from balconies and therefore to meet the intention of building regulation requirements and this should occur as soon as is practical.”
It added: “If combustible materials have been used in the balcony or external wall system, it is possible that fire may spread rapidly across the façade.”
Combustible materials are banned on the outside of new buildings taller than 18m – whether as cladding or balconies – through measures introduced by the government last year.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have issued the following advice:
To stay safe at home:
- Take care when cooking, never leave unattended and ensure your cooker is turned off after use
- Test your smoke alarm once a week by pressing the test button until the alarm sounds
- Keep doorways, hallways and communal areas free from clutter
- Close all doors at night to prevent fire from spreading
- If you smoke always make sure you extinguish your cigarettes safely
- Make sure you know what the emergency procedures are for your building
For further safety advice to keep you safe at home visit: https://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/staying-safe/what-we-do/fire-safety-at-home/
To reduce the risk of fire on a balcony:
- Do not use BBQs under any circumstances
- Never store flammable materials like gas on your balcony
- Reduce clutter and try and keep items on the balcony to a minimum
- If you smoke make sure you stub cigarettes out and NEVER flick them off your balcony
GMFRS are inviting residents in High Rise buildings to attend the next Greater Manchester High Rise Task Force Residents’ Forum at 6.00pm, on Thursday, 11 July, at GFMRS’ Training and Development Centre, Cassidy Close, Manchester
To book a free Safe and Well visit (https://manchesterfire.gov.uk/staying-safe/what-we-do/safe-and-well-visit/) please call 0800 555 815.
To read the Governments full advice note click this link
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