In light of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, we want to reassure residents that our approach to fire safety is as important as ever and in recent months we have been reviewing our fire safety practices. This has included developing a health and safety action plan, with progress being reported to our Audit and Compliance Sub Committee.
We have updated our Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) template, which we will use as and when we update a scheme’s FRA. We complete FRAs to ensure that suitable and sufficient measures are in place to minimise the risk and effect of fire. We are also developing a computerised fire safety dashboard that will allow us to monitor and report on the completion of FRA’s and any identified action points to our Board of Management.
One important area of work that we have recently reviewed is our approach to managing the storage and charging of powered vehicles, such as mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, within our schemes.
Powered vehicles involved in a fire can release large volumes of smoke and generate significant heat. If powered vehicles stored in communal escape routes are involved in a fire, there is a potential that escape routes will become impassable and residents could be placed at significant risk of the effects of fire. Therefore, whilst we understand the benefits that powered vehicles can provide our residents, the health and safety of all our residents, staff and visitors must be our first priority.
With this in mind, we will no longer allow powered vehicles to be stored in communal corridors outside individual apartments and we will work with individual residents to find an alternative solution. Where residents currently store a powered vehicle within their own home we will arrange a convenient time to call and assess how the vehicle is stored and make any recommendations where fire safety needs to be improved.
From the 8th January 2018 any existing residents that are thinking of getting a powered vehicle will need to apply for permission before they proceed with their purchase so that we can ensure the safe use and storage of the vehicle within our schemes.
As well as seeking to minimise the likelihood of fires breaking out in communal areas, we want to reduce the likelihood of fires starting within individual residents’ homes. From January 2018 we will provide a copy of a nationally produced leaflet on ‘fire safety in the home’ to all new residents as they move into their new home.
Please see the below a copy of our ‘keeping and using a powered vehicle within our schemes’ factsheet, for you to review.