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Gas Safety Week 2020 - Network's Fire Safety Team

21 September 2020

By Laura Jones Fire Safety Contracts Manager

For Gas Safety Week 2020, Network Homes has been promoting and raising awareness around the importance of not only gas safety but fire and electrical safety within our homes.

If you missed any content last week checkout the below blogs:

Keeping residents safe in their homes is a top priority for the Fire Safety team. As well as providing smoke alarms, we also complete annual fire sprinkler inspections. Fire kills over 350 people in the UK every year and injures more than 9,000. And electrical faults cause around 12,500 fires in our homes. Network Homes as a landlord is responsible for carrying out regular fire safety checks in the communal areas of buildings.

Laura Jones New (2)

I’m responsible for ensuring statutory compliance for Fire Safety management for Network Homes. One of my most important responsibilities is to ensure Network Homes fulfils it’s legal obligation to manage the fire safety within its buildings.

Laura Jones, Fire Safety Contracts Manager

The Fire Safety team also includes the below members of staff:

  • Des Woodcock – Fire Safety Officer
  • Rachel Clifford – Trainee Safety Officer
  • Nick Beard – Fire Safety Administrator

To find out more about the Fire Safety team checkout the below video featuring Des Woodcock, Fire Safety Officer and Rachel Clifford, Trainee Safety Officer.

How do Network Homes keep residents safe?

  • We ensure all buildings with shared communal spaces have a comprehensive fire risk assessment completed, to assess the fire risk and address any recommendations.
  • We build and maintain strong working relationships with the fire and rescue service
  • Install and maintain any fire safety equipment.
  • Check fire doors to ensure they are operating as they should, as they help stop fire and smoke spreading through a building.
  • Provide advice and updates to residents on fire safety matters.
  • Inspect our blocks regularly to make sure that escape routes are clear. Network Homes applies a zero – tolerance to items being stored in the communal areas. If any items are found to be in these areas, they will be removed without any prior notice.
  • We take an active role in the design specification of new buildings to ensure our residents and their homes are safe as possible from fire.

Grenfell Tower Fire

For Network, our focus after the tragic Grenfell Tower Fire was to find out which of our buildings had ACM cladding (the type on Grenfell) and put together a plan to remove it. Since then, we have continued to follow the published guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and National Fire Chief Council (NFCC) to ensure we continue to manage our buildings safety and undertake any works recommendations. To support this, we have now set up a dedicated Building Safety Team who manage any external wall system remediation works needed to our buildings, while also communicating with our residents and leaseholders throughout.

Following the publication of Dame Judith Hackett’s report, Network Homes has already started implemented the recommendations she set out and we are committed to being open and transparent and working with our residents.

Fire safety in blocks of flats

Network Homes has comprehensive fire safety controls in place, which are reviewed and tested regularly. We have 100% compliant fire risk assessments for all our blocks and we have a primary authority partnership agreement with the London Fire Brigade, which audits our fire safety management arrangements and supports us to always enhance our service.

As well as having up to date fire risks assessments in all our blocks of flats, we also have an ongoing programme to continually re-assess the buildings and act on the recommendations, including carrying out work where necessary.

We recognise there are some residents and leaseholders living in buildings which require remedial works including cladding or within internal areas of the building. Our priority is to ensure we complete remedial works within our timescales so these properties are safe to live in and to give our residents the reassurances they need.

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

In accordance to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety Order) 2005, Network Homes are required to have a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) on all its buildings which have shared communal areas.  A FRA is a physical inspection to help us understand what the potential fire risks there may be and to ensure that we can take the necessary actions to keep you safe in your home.

All fire risk assessments completed within buildings owned and or managed by Network Homes are completed by a specialist consultant called Savills Ltd. We've published a number of Fire Risk Assessments on our website for our buildings with communal areas. If the building you occupy isn't published on our website, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

View the Fire Risk Assessment for your block of flats!

Prevent Fires in Your Home

You can reduce the risk of fire in your home by taking the following simple steps:

  • Test your smoke alarm every week.
  • Make a fire escape plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape.
  • Be careful with candles. Keep them away from curtains, carpets, furniture, bedding and other flammable items.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  • Don’t leave cigarettes, pipes or candles unattended.
  • Switch off the TV and other non-essential electrical equipment at the socket when not in use.
  • Switch off heaters and cookers when you’re not using them.
  • Don’t use or store devices that run on a gas cylinder.
  • Check your cooker is turned off before you go to bed.
  • Keep communal areas, fire exits, and fire escapes clear of any obstructions at all times.
  • Don’t prop fire doors open.

Staying Safe!

More and more homes are now built with sprinkler systems. You should be aware if your home has this system. Network Homes are legally obliged to test and inspect the system annually. We always contact residents in advance to arrange an appointment; however, if access is not gained, Network Homes will take legal action for a breach of tenancy or lease. Whilst this may seem strong action to take, we are required to ensure this life saving equipment is working in the case of a fire.

Escape plan

It’s really important anyone living in your household have an escape plan should you need to evacuate from your home in the event of a fire. Practice the route you would intend to take. It's important to discuss this especially with any children in your household. If you need help developing an escape plan, please contact us for further help.

Contact us

Network Homes has a dedicated Fire Safety Team who can answer any fire safety queries you may have. You can contact them on firesafety@networkhomes.org.uk or 0300 373 3000