Grenfell Tower Fire- Letter From Tony Berry CEO
Re: Fire Safety in High Rise Buildings
I am sure you will have received the distressing news regarding the Grenfell Fire Disaster in London yesterday. Firstly, I want to express our deepest sympathies to all those affected by this tragic incident in London. Our thoughts are with the families of those who have lost loved ones and seen their homes destroyed, together with the Emergency Services who continue to work in very challenging circumstances. Staff here at APH are looking to see what support, if any and despite the distance, we can offer to affected residents.
Whilst the investigation into the disaster is still in its very early stages, APH will not be waiting to learn of the outcome of that investigation and is already reviewing our own fire safety systems. We have previously commissioned a company called ‘Flamerisk’ to carry out annual fire risk assessments. Flamerisk, by pure coincidence, have already started their 2017 annual review and are currently carrying out the annual Fire Risk Assessments in our properties. They are a fully accredited company whose staff are approved by the Institute of Fire Safety Managers and headed by a nationally accredited Fire Risk Assessor. They will be on site for the next two weeks, but given the unfortunate events, they will be carrying out a more detailed review.
It should give residents some reassurance to know that the recent works completed to the exterior of Grosvenor House and Ryecroft House are very different to the works completed at Grenfell. We have not used the same recladding system instead opting for an alumasc render system, as opposed to recladding the blocks.
All our blocks have been inspected by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS). We also work with Tameside Council to ensure all our buildings are as safe from fire as possible and, that staff can advise residents on how to stay safe. APH staff assess every high rise building and, together with GMFRS, have ensured that fire crews are familiar with the layout of our buildings, in case they need to attend a fire or other incident that may occur.
It is also worth noting that there have been a small number of fire incidents over the years in our high rise blocks. The design of the blocks and the additional fire safety measures installed by APH, have ensured that each fire was contained, compartmentalised and managed without spreading to adjacent flats.
However, I appreciate residents may want further reassurance. I will therefore be arranging a drop-in session for residents as soon as we have more information. This will be an opportunity for residents to come along and ask our staff and our Fire Risk Assessor, any questions that you might have relating to fire safety. Details of the time and venue will follow.
I would like to remind you that APH currently adopts a Stay-Put Policy in our high rise blocks in the event of a fire incident. Please find attached some notes explaining what a stay-put procedure and an evacuation procedure actually mean in practice. At this moment we have been advised that our current procedures do not need to be changed. However, we will be liaising very closely with GMFRS and Flamerisk and should we find it necessary to amend these procedures, we will notify all residents as a matter of urgency.
Finally If you have a specific concern or feel vulnerable, GMFRS are encouraging people to call their Contact Centre on 0800 555 815, to provide advice or arrange a Safe and Well Visit at your home.
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.
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