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Fire Safety update in light of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower.

In light of the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, we would like to reassure all residents that we take fire protection and safety very seriously.

Blocks of flats with 6 or more storeys are considered to be “high rise” blocks, and we manage nine of these. The buildings concerned are; Elizabeth Court, Margaret Court, and Windsor House owned by Canterbury City Council, and; Brunswick Court, Harbour Tower, Invicta House, Kennedy House, Trove Court and Staner Court owned by Thanet District Council. There are no Council owned high rise blocks in Dover or Shepway areas.

Whilst all of the high rise blocks we manage have been insulated, none of these have been fitted with the “rain screen” type of cladding that was used at Grenfell Tower.  .

We have up-to-date Fire Risk Assessments (FRA’s) for every high rise block, and we have reviewed these in the light of the Grenfell Tower fire.

We have fire detection equipment installed in all escape routes, stairwells and lobbies and this is regularly tested and checked.   The flats do not have complex escape arrangements.  This means that there are simple routes to safety in the event of an emergency.

We have the following fire-fighting equipment on-site at each high rise block:

  • Dry-Risers, which allow the Fire and Rescue Service to pump water up to the different floors of the building if they need to tackle a fire
  • Fire Detectors
  • Manual call-points on every exit to a stairwell
  • Fire doors
  • Communal area doors
  • Emergency lighting on every floor and every-other landing
  • Emergency Signage

Each site also has a Fire Action Plan

We have tested the fire alarms in the communal areas of each block, and these can be heard in residents’ flats.  We recorded levels in excess of 70db which demonstrates that the alarms are very clearly audible.

In common with all landlords of purpose built blocks we follow the advice of the Kent Fire & Rescue Service regarding the evacuation plan.  The “Stay Put” policy is recognised to be current best practice for purpose built blocks of flats where the fire is in a common area (not in your flat) and you feel safe to remain in your flat.

The “Stay Put” policy states that it is safest for residents to stay in their homes in the event of a fire and to only attempt escape if it is safe to do so. This national policy may be reviewed following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower but remains the most authoritative advice available at this time.

The blocks are routinely inspected by East Kent Housing officers and the Kent Fire & Rescue Service.

Reduce fire risks in your home by:

  • If you smoke, making sure your cigarette is put out fully and your ash trays are safely emptied
  • Keep matches and/or lighters away from children
  • Taking extra care when cooking food  
  • Put fireguards around fires where appropriate
  • Switching off any electrical equipment not being used (this will help save energy bills too)
  • Be careful with candles and not leaving any naked flames unattended

Remember smoke alarms save lives
Please don’t disconnect or remove your smoke alarm as it really could save your life and make sure you test them regularly.

Further information

You should make sure you are familiar with what to do in the event of fire.  If you are living in one of the high rise blocks you will have been visited by our staff, or we will have left leaflets and advice for you.  If you require a personal evacuation plan then you should contact us on firesafety@eastkenthousing.org.uk

You can also visit our website for information about Fire Safety in your home and what to do in an emergency. If you live in a high rise block there is further advice available at either the East Kent Housing or Kent Fire and Rescue websites.

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