Fire safety in tower blocks


Our thoughts are with everyone involved in the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London this week.

We own three tower blocks – Elizabeth Court and Margaret Court in Herne Bay and Windsor House in Whitstable – and these are managed on our behalf by East Kent Housing (EKH).

Over and above their routine programme of fire risk assessments, EKH officers have reviewed fire safety at all three blocks, looking in particular at evacuation policy, fire alarms/detection systems, fire-fighting provision, refuse chutes and emergency ventilation systems.

EKH officers have also visited tenants to reassure them and remind them of the safety procedures for each block that are agreed with Kent Fire and Rescue Service. The advice may vary according to the individual block. Letters were left for those residents who were not home and additional information was provided on EKH’s website.

The three blocks are all purpose built, meaning they have been built to contain fire. The fire alarms in communal areas are inspected weekly and the lighting fortnightly. For the foreseeable future, daily inspections will be carried out to ensure communal areas are clear and to provide residents with reassurance.

It is too early to speculate on what happened at Grenfell Tower but of course we would look at any lessons that come out of this very sad incident. We are, however, aware of media stories about the cladding at Grenfell Tower and can confirm our three blocks do not have overcladding of the same type.

The Kent Fire and Rescue Service website contains a statement about the Grenfell Tower fire and advice on fire safety in tower blocks.