Tower blocks and fire safety

Fire Risk Assessment

What is a Fire Risk Assessment?

A Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) is an assessment report which contains information about a detailed examination of the internal communal or shared areas of a building. It identifies potential fire hazards, evaluates the existing fire safety measures already in place and determines if any additional measures or controls are needed to be put in place to prevent, control and mitigate the effects of a potential fire.

Who carries out Fire Risk Assessments for the council?

FRAs are only carried out by fully accredited competent professionals, who use an industry standard approach.

RBK currently have contracted Fire Risk Management Services Ltd to complete FRAs on our behalf. We review these and share the findings from the report with the relevant teams. Any action required is then programmed and the central team monitors their progress in completing actions.

How often do you check the fire safety equipment in my block?

Fire equipment in our blocks can include emergency lighting, fire alarm and sprinkler systems for Sheltered and Temporary Accomodation blocks. We check all of this equipment regularly to make sure it’s in good working order. 

  • Emergency lighting – monthly
  • Communal Fire alarms – 3 monthly
  • Sprinkler Systems and Dry Risers - 6 monthly
  • Smoke dectectors - annually in conjunction with the Landlord Gas Safety Check

Most of our blocks don’t have fire alarms. This is in line with recommendations from the London Fire Brigade and the regulations and guidance we comply with. The reason for this is that most residential blocks operate a “stay put” policy. This means that in the event of a fire, it’s usually safest to remain in your own flat, unless smoke or fire is affecting your own home. If there was an alarm system in the block this would mean people would leave and it could prevent the Fire Brigade from reaching the fire and putting it out.

Communal landings and walkways have to be kept clear?

Fire hazards might include rubbish and waste being left in communal areas or personal items (e.g. mobility scooters, buggies, footwear etc.) left outside flats. These items can be flammable but also risk helping a fire spread if it is in a communal area. They can also prevent people from escaping safely in an emergency situation.

Should my front entrance door be a Fire Door?

Front entrance doors that open onto a means of escape route must be fire rated to protect the route for a specified time period, usually 30 minutes. If you live on the ground floor with your front door leading directly out of the building it does not have to be fire rated.

Fire Door requirements include self closers to make sure doors close behind you when you leave the flat and smoke seals and intumescent strips around the edge of the door to stop the spread of fire and smoke.

What does the evacuation strategy mean?

The evacuation strategy is what residents should follow in the event of a fire. To aid this we put signs up at the front entrance door in the blocks to let people know what they should do and this information is also provided when someone moves in. The two main evacuation strategies we have in our buildings are called remain in place or “stay put” and “simultaneous evacuation”.

Stay put: stay put means that if there is a fire somewhere else in your building, you are usually safer to remain in your flat with the doors and windows closed. It can often be the case that you may not even know a fire is happening until it has been safely put out.

However and importantly the instruction is not to stay put if your flat is affected by fire or smoke, you should leave immediately, closing the door behind you or ensuring the self closer closes the door. Dial the Fire Brigade once outside of your flat on 999 and provide them with the relevant details.