Fire and rescue services join forces to improve fire safety in high-rise buildings

Date published: 23 January 2024

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is working together with fire and rescue services across the North West to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

Just over one year ago (January 23, 2023), the Fire Safety England Regulations came into effect and implemented the majority of the recommendations made by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in its Phase 1 report.

Over the past 12 months fire safety teams across the North West have worked with councils, housing associations and managing agents to support compliance with the new laws and keep residents safe.

This has included sharing information through online events, developing leaflets that can be distributed to residents and producing guidance and templates to support fault reporting.

In Greater Manchester alone, there are more than 650 high-rise residential buildings with many more under construction and proposed.

As well as providing support to residents and those responsible for fire safety in high-rise buildings, GMFRS runs regular large-scale training exercises to ensure that our firefighters are adequately prepared to respond to high-rise incidents.

GMFRS Director of Prevention and Protection, Carlos Meakin, said: “Since the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017 more than 200 blocks of flats have needed to change their evacuation strategy because of serious fire safety concerns.

"This causes worry for residents and we recognise the importance of providing up-to-date information and advice about what to do in the event of a fire whilst these issues are being addressed with those responsible for the building’s safety.

"The new resources will also help us support those responsible for fire safety in high-rise buildings to comply with the new legislation.

“By taking a regional approach to high-rise building safety, we can ensure that our messages are consistent, and those responsible for a building’s safety, are receiving clear information on how to stay safe.”

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Kate Green, said: “Greater Manchester has a number of high-rise residential buildings with that number constantly growing.

"It is incredibly important that people living in blocks of flats across our region are confident that they are safe and it is positive to see proactive work being done by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and other fire and rescue services across the wider region, to ensure this.”

To further support the safety of residents living in blocks of flats across our region, new video resources have been developed by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) North West Protection Group - made up of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service - and have been made available on the relevant websites.

The new material will be used to help organisations legally responsible for fire safety in high-rise buildings, and individuals working on their behalf, manage their buildings compliance with the regulations.

The resources will also be used to better residents understanding of the fire safety arrangements in their buildings.  

Ensuring that residents in the thousands of flats, including high-rise residential buildings, across the North West have access to fire safety information will reduce the risk of fire and help residents feel safe in their homes.

The monthly checks on fire safety systems and equipment - which are now required by fire safety laws - will improve building safety and alert firefighters of essential firefighting equipment that isn’t working effectively.

This is one of numerous projects being undertaken by the North West Protection Group to improve the standards of building and business safety across the region.

For more information on high-rise fire safety, including specific advice for both residents and responsible persons, please click here

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