Home>Fire>Fire and Rescue >Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service works to support high-rise building fire safety
Home>Fire>Legislation>Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service works to support high-rise building fire safety

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service works to support high-rise building fire safety

26 January 2024

CUMBRIA FIRE and Rescue Service is working together with Fire and Rescue Services right across the North West region in a determined bid to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

On 23 January last year, of course, 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.

During the ensuing 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.

To further assist the safety of residents living in blocks of flats across the region, new video resources have been developed by the North West Protection Group (itself made up of the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service – and have been made available on their respective 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 – to manage compliance with the Fire Safety (England) Regulations. The resources will also be used to enhance residents’ understanding of the fire safety arrangements in their buildings.

Ensuring that residents in all 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. Monthly checks on fire safety systems and equipment – which are now required by law – will improve building safety and, in parallel, alert firefighters of essential firefighting equipment that isn’t working effectively.

Collaborative multi-agency approach

In Cumbria, there are four high-rise residential buildings.

Lauren Woodward, area manager for the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Since the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017, we have worked closely with our neighbouring Fire and Rescue Services and the sector nationally to ensure we are best placed to assist in making the residents in Cumbria who live in high-rise buildings safe in their homes. This work has been underpinned by a collaborative multi-agency approach involving local partners in Cumbria, including housing associations and management agents, to support compliance, provide education and realise meaningful engagement.”

Woodward continued: “The monthly checks now required by safety laws will ensure that buildings are safe. Where essential firefighting equipment isn’t working effectively, firefighters will be made aware of this such that they can then adjust the response plan. The new videos supplement the information we have already provided and we hope these will support monthly checks to be undertaken effectively. Residents can now access information about fire safety in different ways.”

Minimal risk

Mike Johnson, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in Cumbria, observed: “All residents deserve a safe home with minimal risk to fire. I’m pleased to see Cumbria taking steps to ensure that all of our residents have access to fire safety information and can easily report faults in high-rise buildings.”

Johnson went on to comment: “The fire at Grenfell Tower was a devastating event that shook the nation. We all want to ensure that this does not happen again. I’m really pleased to see the collaborative work coming into fruition and I would encourage all residents who live in high-rise buildings to read the materials that the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and its partner organisations have created to keep them safe.”

In point of fact, 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 building fire safety, including specific advice for residents and ‘Responsible Persons’, visit www.cumbriafire.gov.uk/fire-safety-act-2021-and-fire-safety-england-regulations-2022