Fire service launches new high rise safety campaign after Grenfell tragedy

Aberdeen tower blocksFirefighters have visited more than 1,000 high rise homes to offer reassurance and support following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has said.

The service said fires in high rise flats are at their lowest in eight years with new SFRS figures showing a total of 238 incidents reported over 2016/17 in buildings at least ten storeys high.

This is a reduction of almost a quarter on the previous year and 261 down on 2009/10, or a reduction of 52%.

Dedicated crews have been working tirelessly to ensure residents stay safe at home, checking and installing smoke detectors and providing advice on what to do in the event of an emergency.

And this week saw the launch of a national high rise fire safety campaign, supporting the work of the SFRS to encourage more residents to request a free and dedicated Home Fire Safety Visit and speak to firefighters about their concerns.

The campaign will also actively target stakeholders and landlords – ensuring that they know where to find fire safety advice and that it is shared with tenants.

Assistant Chief Officer David McGown
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown

Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, SFRS’ director of prevention and protection, said: “While the overall reduction in the number of incidents is welcome, we are never complacent.

“This campaign will build on the great work already done by SFRS and our partners, and we will continue to work hand-in-hand to reach those who are most vulnerable, and ensure that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.”

In the past year alone, firefighters undertook 70,743 Home Fire Safety Visits which are essential in helping detect risks in the home.

In addition, more than 2,400 operational assurance visits have been carried out at high rise properties.

The SFRS attends at every emergency and has an agreed Standard Operating Procedure in place which sets out how fires in High Rise Premises should be dealt with, utilising appropriate training and equipment, including high reach appliances.

ACO McGown added: “We routinely carry out operational assurance visits at high rise premises for the purposes of checking facilities and arrangements for firefighting and firefighter safety.

“We stepped up these visits in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and we have specific safety information relating to high rise premises available on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website.

“Our firefighters will also be putting leaflets with clear safety advice through doors, meeting with residents on the ground to directly answer their questions and new posters will offer safety advice and where to find information on what to do in the event of an emergency.

“This includes tried and tested national advice, should the fire occur in the flat you are in or elsewhere in the building.

“I would encourage residents to speak to us and let us know if they need support – we are here and able to assist.”

Minister for community safety & legal affairs, Annabelle Ewing, said: “Tenants and residents living in high-rise flats in Scotland should feel safe where they live and this high-rise fire safety campaign, reiterates key messages on what to do in the event of a fire and where to go to get fire safety help and advice.

“The campaign supports our work with local authorities, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and others to ensure the highest standards in our building and fire safety regulations and I thank everyone involved for their continued commitment to this.”

To book a free home fire safety visit call 0800 0731 999, text ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or visit where further information on how to stay safe can be found.

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