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Advice for Berkshire residents living in high-rise buildings

Following the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower in London early this morning (14 June), Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is providing advice and reassurance to people who are concerned about the safety of high-rise buildings.

Area Manager Mark Gaskarth who is responsible for Fire Safety for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. Our colleagues in London Fire Brigade have been working incredibly hard and our thoughts are with them as well. It would be wrong to speculate about the cause of the fire until a full investigation has been carried out. While these incidents are rare, it is important at this stage to focus on those affected and also ensuring our residents feel safe.”

Our advice to people who live in high-rise properties or purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know your escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.

If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette, alert all the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you. Follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.

If there is a fire elsewhere in the building, the structure of your flat – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes’ protection from a fire. If there is a fire in your building but not inside your own home, you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you. If you stay put you should still immediately call 999.

Specific fire safety guidance relating to a particular building can be obtained from the management agent, owner or other responsible person.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service works with local authorities, developers, and tenants to help ensure that the fire safety arrangements in high-rise accommodation are safe and appropriate. Our crews train to ensure they are familiar with high-rise buildings in our area and what action to take in the event of a fire.

The advice in this statement is intended to help tenants develop an initial and safe escape plan. Once a 999 call is made and firefighters arrive at a fire, the advice may be reinforced or changed depending on the nature of the fire, the building and its tenants.

For a leaflet with advice for people living in a high rise flat, please click here.

Further home fire safety information can be found on under the your safety section of the website.