The LWF Blog

Fires in High Rise Flats – a continuing problem…

September 13, 2011 9:54 am

There has been a recent spate of fires in residential high rise buildings, with another flat fire hitting the headlines this month. 

It was reported that a man was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation with with a further 150 people evacuated. Whilst it appears that significant fire spread did not occur, such a fire should not go ignored and lessons must always be learned.

High rise buildings bring with them inherent hazards, escaping from a high rise, becomes increasingly difficult with height as the potential to leave via a window or achieve third party assisted escape is lessened. 

Notwithstanding this, most high rise buildings are designed to ensure this action is not necessary, although it must be noted that this relies on appropriate management and fire prevention measures being maintained.

Although recent significant fires appear to be in ‘older stock’ buildings, this is not to say that all of these buildings are unsafe, but with fires and fire deaths in recent times, to ignore these issues would be bad practice.

Fire risk assessments are required to the common parts of residential buildings (in most cases) and this must be the starting point of any review. The existing building should be assessed against current guidance, with deficiencies highlighted and appropriate remedial action taken.

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