London Fire Brigade: Most High-Rise Residents Lack Fire Plan

The brigade's survey found 60 percent of all high-rise residents –- approximately 760,000 households -– do not have a fire escape plan.

A new survey done for the London Fire Brigade indicates 60 percent of all high-rise residents in the capital city do not have a fire escape plan. That means about 760,000 households don’t have them. "Fifty per cent said they would get out of their flat even if the fire was somewhere else in the block, which can be the most dangerous thing to do when a fire is not affecting your home," the brigade's March 28 news release about the survey stated.

To clear up this confusion, the brigade has launched a new, one-year campaign and website, www.knowtheplan.co.uk, to help ensure landlords fulfill their fire safety responsibilities and to educate residents about what to do in a fire.The campaign follows recommendations made by the coroner following the inquest into the 2009 Lakanal fire, where six people died.

"Living in a flat is not more dangerous than living in a house, but it's important to know that your fire plan should be different," London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said. "Flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire – a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 60. 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 unless heat or smoke is affecting you."

The campaign has three primary goals:

  • For all types of landlords and housing providers in London to check their responsibilities under fire safety law and ensure they communicate fire safety information and guidance
  • Encourage people living in flats, purpose-built blocks, and maisonettes to visit www.knowtheplan.co.uk and learn what to do in the event of a fire.
  • Ensure people living in purpose-built flats and maisonettes know how to find fire safety information and from whom to find it.

Although 71 percent of the surveyed residents said they would leave if there were a fire in their flat, 24 percent said they still would stay inside to call 999 rather than getting out immediately.

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