South Yorkshire fire chiefs issue warning over high rise tower blocks

Firefighters involved in a training exercise
Firefighters involved in a training exercise

Fire chiefs are calling on residents in high rise tower blocks to know the escape plan in the event of a blaze.

The plea has been issued as part of a nationwide initiative to improve fire safety awareness for the residents of high rise buildings and to encourage landlords and housing providers to know their fire safety responsibilities,

Fire chiefs say living in blocks of flats is more dangerous than houses and are urging residents to ask their landlords for the fire evacuation plans for their buildings.

Phil Shillito, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s Head of Prevention and Protection, said: “If you live in a purpose-built block of flats or maisonettes we are asking you to make sure you know what to do if there is a fire inside your home or elsewhere in the building and to know who to ask for advice.

“High rise flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire.

“Walls, floors and doors will hold back flames and smoke for a time. If there is a fire elsewhere in the building but not inside your home you’re usually safer staying in your flat. If evacuation is necessary, firefighters will initiate this.”

He said landlords should be able to tell residents if fire risk assessments have been completed.

If fire risk assessments have not been carried out residents should contact their local fire safety regulation team.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue regularly carries out training exercises in high-rise buildings, testing their search and rescue procedures, communication and firefighting operations.

An exercise was carried out last month at Westminster flats in Intake, Doncaster, which are managed by St Leger Homes.

During the training exercise firefighters ‘rescued’ a volunteer from seventh floor flat which was filled with smoke to create a realistic scenario.