In light of the recent tragic events at the Grenfell Tower, and the current evacuation of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, we would like to remind everyone of the importance of fire safety.
Local authorities across the UK are currently carrying out tests to at-risk buildings, and those with external cladding in particular. Even so, if you have any worries about the safety of your building, you should contact your landlord immediately. If you believe that your landlord is not responding properly, you should speak to your local authority to report any concerns. You should also ensure that your landlord has the correct licence for the type of property (known as an HMO, or House in Multiple Occupation licence).
While the current events are reported to be related to the exterior cladding of the buildings, safety within the home is also important. As of 1st October 2015, it has been mandatory for your landlord to install at least one smoke alarm on each storey of the premises. You should test your alarms at least once per month, and should replace the batteries once per year. Carbon monoxide monitors are not mandatory unless there is a solid fuel (i.e. coal) appliance, although we also suggest that you invest in one of these too.
The London Fire Brigade advises that you do not store belongings in corridors or staircases (either inside or outside your flat), and that you don’t store too much on your balcony. You should also be aware of your evacuation plan. Your landlord or building may have provided an evacuation plan in the common areas of the building, in which case you should read this carefully. Even if you have not been provided with one, you should familiarise yourself with ways of escaping your flat or house in case of fire, and if possible, alternative routes in case your main route is blocked.
According to the London Fire Brigade’s guidance, in the event that there is a fire in your property, you should leave the building as quickly as possible, remaining calm. Don’t use the lift, and do call 999. If you’re unable to escape, you may need to stay in the building. If so, find a safe room, close the door, and use soft materials (e.g. wet towels) to prevent smoke entering. Call 999, and shout “HELP, FIRE” out of a window.
We are aware that at least one student has been affected by the evacuation of the Chalcots Estate. If you have also been affected, please contact our Advice Team as we may be able to help, particularly with short-term housing and your legal rights.
Please see the links below for further information:
If you have been directly affected by the events at Grenfell Tower or the Chalcots Estate:
- Call Shelter’s London advice line on 0344 515 1540 (extended hours: 8am-8pm)
- North Kensington Law Centre (for those directly affected by Grenfell Tower)
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s latest updates on Grenfell Tower
- Camden’s latest updates on the Chalcots Estate
Please contact us on 020 7862 8880 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about fire safety, or if you are currently facing difficulties following the recent events. We can offer brief telephone/email or in-person guidance, and also offer full in-depth advice appointments.