Greater Manchester residents are being encouraged to take simple steps to stay safe in their homes as work continues to ensure the safety of high rise blocks across the city-region.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is encouraging people to remember to take simple fire prevention steps to help keep themselves safe and make sure they know what to do if there is a fire in their flat or in their block.
This includes testing smoke alarms once a week, keeping doorways, hallways and communal areas free from clutter and reporting any obstructions, taking care when cooking and smoking, and making sure electrical appliance are turned off when not in use and not overloading plug sockets and extension leads.
Tony Hunter, Assistant Chief Fire Office and Director of Prevention and Protection, said: “Living in a high-rise block doesn’t mean you are at any more risk from fire in your home, but it does mean that you need to consider your own fire safety and how a fire in your home could impact on other residents in your block. For example, our firefighters have been called to a number of cooking-related flat fires over the last few weeks. Whilst they were contained and extinguished quickly, we want to remind residents of the simple ways they can reduce the risk of a fire in their home.
“Now the new year is well underway, this is a good time for residents to declutter the doorways and hallways inside your flat, check smoke alarms and make sure electrical items are in good working order. Residents can also request a free Safe and Well visit by contacting us on 0800 555 815.
“It’s also important that residents know what to do in the event of a fire, whether it’s in their own flat or somewhere else in the building. If you have a fire in your flat you should stay safe by getting out, staying out and calling the fire service on 999. High rise residents should also make sure they know the emergency procedures for their building in case of a fire elsewhere in the block, which should be provided by their landlord or building management company.”
The fire safety reminder comes as residents are invited to the next High Rise Residents’ Forum on Wednesday 30 January.
The meeting is an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns about fire safety. Residents will also be updated on the ongoing work of the Greater Manchester High Rise Taskforce, which was set up by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
As part of this work GMFRS continues to work with local authorities, landlords and building owners and managers to ensure all high rise buildings have the right fire safety measures in place so residents can feel safe in their homes.
Fire safety work, which includes the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding and plans to retrofit sprinklers, is underway on local authority and social landlord owned blocks across Greater Manchester.
The fire service also continues to support building owners and managers in the private sector to ensure interim fire safety measures remain in place until unsafe cladding can be replaced.
Chair of the High Rise Taskforce, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, said: “Greater Manchester has taken swift action to reassure residents living in high rises across the city-region and ensure they are safe in their homes. I’m pleased that our local authorities and social landlords are on with vital fire safety work, including the stripping of dangerous cladding and working with residents to install sprinklers.
“However, the Government is not doing enough to unlock funding for private sector buildings to ensure that work can be done without the cost falling to residents. As a result, hundreds of residents are still living in buildings which need the cladding replacing , anxious about not only the implications of a fire happening but also the prospect of huge bills to pay for fire safety work. This is unacceptable and ministers need to take their heads out the sand and take responsibility for this national scandal, instead of simply passing the burden onto local areas and local residents.
“In Greater Manchester, we have put the safety of residents at the heart of what we do – I strongly urge the Government to follow suit.”
The High Rise Residents’ Forum takes place at 6.30pm, on Wednesday 30 January at GFMRS’ Training and Development Centre, Cassidy Close, Manchester.
For more information on how to stay safe from fire visit www.manchesterfire.gov.uk or call 0800 555 815.