Invitation to a Q&A session about fire safety at Range and Pennine

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London, we are keen that our tenants at Range & Pennine Courts feel safe in their homes.

We wrote to everyone on the day of the fire to point out that we had used a very different cladding, which is fire safe and the way we’d installed it differently to prevent a fire spreading.

Understandably some people still had questions and some residents got in touch with their questions and concerns.

We have included the questions below together with our responses.

We’d like to invite you to a discussion of these and any other questions and concerns you may have.

  • When: 6-7pm Wednesday 28nd June 2017
  • Where: The Green in the Corner Cafe, Hurdsfield Green
  • Who will be there: CEO Tim Pinder, other members of staff including the Peaks and Plains Fire Officer.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry, we have rounded up the customer queries we have had so far and answered them here.

Is the cladding on our buildings the same as on Grenfell Tower in London?

The cladding on Range & Pennine Courts is not the same product as installed at Grenfell Tower.

The Grenfell Tower cladding was called Reynobond PE – made of  hard-plastic polyethylene  covered with aluminium. It was NOT classified as fire resistant.

The external cladding at Range & Pennine Court, which are the coloured panels you can see from the outside, are a product called Rockpanel Chameleon and Rockpanel Woods.

The cladding meet the Fire Euroclass B-s2-d0  EN 13501 standard,  which means it produces no smoke, no burning droplets falling/dripping, and  fire spread is ‘extremely slight’. There is absolutely no drop formation and the risk of fire spread is prevented. The Grenfell cladding did not meet this standard.

It is extensively tested to meet fire regulations and IS classified as a fire safe building material.

Behind the panels is a layer of insulation, made of a product called Rockwool, which also meets the Fire Euroclass B-s2-d0  EN 13501 standard. In the event of a fire the structure of insulation remains fully intact.

Therefore both the insulation and the covering panels are fire rated.

On Thursday 15 June, the day after the Grenfell fire, Peaks & Plains Fire Officer met Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service at the blocks to carry out a review of existing fire precaution measures including the fabric of the building.

As an outcome of the inspection confirmation was also given that the cladding materials used at Range and Pennine Court  are rated fire safe building materials and therefore different to those at Grenfell Tower which were not fire rated.

Why does our fire procedure tell us to ‘stay put’?

Our procedure is base on the fire service’s recommendation and because our flats are able to contain a fire for at least 60 minutes.

The ‘stay put’ policy allows the fire brigade to tackle the fire as soon as they arrive and keeps the stairs clear for them to do their job. We work in partnership with the fire service to ensure that all of our procedures meet best practice.

Swift action from the fire service can prevent the fire spreading to other locations within the building and they will be able to put it out quickly without affecting other residents.

If the fire is in your flat you must evacuate, but if it’s not in your flat you are normally safe to remain where you are. If in doubt, get out.

 (Older blocks of flats were designed with one stairwell escape route as this was the requirement at that time. Nowadays modern high-rise flats are designed with more than one escape route due to a change in design law, but older buildings with just one are still safe and meet fire safety requirements.

This ‘stay put’ procedure has been used successfully in high rise flats and sheltered accommodation since the 1950s. The aim is to prevent a large number of people from rushing out of a building that was not designed for mass evacuation, which could cause panic and injury to the residents.)

What happens when the alarm goes off in a flat?

If there is a fire inside your flat you need to tell everyone in the flat to get out, close the flat door behind you and activate one of the ‘call points’ in the building on your way out.

This will send a signal to Customer Experience at Peaks & Plains and the Fire Service will be notified to attend the fire.

Once you are safely out of the flat you must:

  • call 999 or 112;
  • ask for ‘Fire’;
  • provide the address of the fire and give a phone number;
  • stay on the line until the fire service has repeated the full address and phone number or until they are asked to hang up.

(In you live in Range or Pennine, we have two alarm systems – one in the communal areas and one inside your flat, which is a ‘domestic part 6 hard wired alarm’. This means that if you set the alarm in your flat by accident you can reset it without disturbing the rest of the block.)

How does the communal alarm work?

The communal fire alarm will go off if heat or smoke is detected. Here’s what happens next.

  • Customer Experience at Peaks & Plains is alerted automatically and the Fire and Rescue Service is called out as a priority.
  • Alarms and beacons will go off in the ground floor communal area and the Service Room on the roof.
  • A fan extraction system in the stairwell will activate to keep the stairs free from smoke, allowing safe access for the fire service and evacuation of residents if necessary.
  • Under Fire Alarm Activation conditions the lifts will be removed from service and will not stop at any floor where the event has originated from.
  • The front and rear entrances will automatically release from the security locking mechanism to make it easier for everyone to get out.
  • The doors on your flat and the communal doors to the corridors and stairwell are designed to give 60-minute fire protection. They will contain the fire in each area to allow escape if necessary.
  • When the fire brigade arrive they will quickly decide on whether an evacuation is necessary. They are trained to carry out a risk assessment on arrival to assess the need for a stage evacuation, which is designed to get residents out safely without the dangers of mass evacuation.
  • If at any time during a fire you feel that you are in danger of smoke or fire – or if the fire brigade tell you to - you must get out of the building.

 

What other safety checks do Peaks & Plains carry out?

To reduce the risk of fire breaking out we have a maintenance and servicing schedule in place for the following:

Maintenance and servicing

       
    Testing Servicing
Fire alarm system Maintenance & Testing in accordance with BS5839-1 Weekly Quarterly
Emergency lighting  Maintenance & Testing in accordance with BS5839-1  Monthly/Annual  Ongoing
Electrical Fixed wiring – Communal Areas   Inspected & Tested in accordance with BS7671, and as per requirements of the H&S at Work Act, the Electricity at Work Regulations and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.  Annual  
Gas heating systems      Annual
Lightening conductors  Maintenance & Testing in accordance with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations & EN81-1/2    Annual
Lift servicing Maintenance & Testing in accordance with Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations & EN81-1/2    Monthly
Lift Insurance Inspection (Thorough examination of lifting equipment in accordance with Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).)  6 monthly  
Operation of Lift under Fire Alarm Conditions (BS EN 81-73)  Weekly  
Fan extraction on the stairwell (Serviced & Maintained in accordance with BS7346-8 & manufacturers specification)    Annual
Dry riser servicing (Serviced & maintained in accordance with BS5306-1 & BS9990.)  6 monthly  6 monthly
Fire Fighting Equipment in Service Areas  (Serviced & Maintained in accordance with BS5306-3 & BS5306-8)    Annual
Refuse Chutes  (Serviced & Maintained in accordance with BS5306-3 & BS5306-8)    6 monthly
Portable Appliance Testing Managed Service Areas   Annual  

 

Fire Risk Assessments and the role of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

A Fire Risk Assessment is carried out every 12 months or after any major refurbishment works.

The Cheshire Fire and Rescue Fire Officer visits Range and Pennine Courts every 12 months to review the Fire Risk Assessment.

The local fire crews do ‘familiarisation visits’ to Range and Pennine to make sure all crew members are aware of the layout of the buildings. We have had two visits so far this year.

Other checks

Daily checks are carried out by our caretakers who:

  • make sure that communal areas are kept clear of any items;
  • check the fire doors to make sure smoke seals are intact and that the ‘door closers’ close the doors;
  • ensure that the bin store rooms are kept clean and tidy;
  • check that the bin chutes are unblocked when required;
  • immediately report any fire-related repairs and get them completed as a priority.

If any items are left in communal areas we have a system in place to notify the customer to remove them or we remove. This is to keep flammable items, which can add to fire risk and be a danger to fire crews, to a minimum.

What else do you do to prevent fires from spreading?

Each flat is designed to contain the fire within it. 

  • The block is essentially made up of concrete boxes on top of one another. Concrete is fire proof, which helps to contain any fires.
  • All the windows are fire rated to contain the fire inside the flat longer than normal domestic windows. This allows the fire service time to tackle the fire before it starts to spread.
  • Your flat door is a 60 minute fire door and over the coming days we will be checking that they meet the approved standard.
  • There are fire stops above all windows.
  • All the communal walls and the stairwell are painted with fire resistant paint to reduce fire spread.
  • Just like the doors, the ceiling tiles in communal areas provide 60-minute fire protection.
  • If a fire should occur in the waste disposal chutes or in the bin room the chutes seal to prevent the spread of fire and smoke.

If you have any further questions please contact us on trust@peaksplains.org.

Written by Default at 00:00

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