Staying safe at home
Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, Derwent Living received lots of calls and emails about fire safety, particularly from people living in flats. At the time we put lots of information on our website and social media to reassure customers and ran a number of sessions at retirement schemes.
We wanted to take this opportunity to reassure residents again that fire safety is a top priority for Derwent Living and the safety of customers is something that the whole organisation takes very seriously. All fire safety risk assessments are up to date and Derwent Living undertakes lots of work each and every day to make sure properties are as safe as they can be for our residents to live in.
For blocks of flats, checks of communal areas are carried out on a monthly basis by staff, to ensure we are compliant; this means making sure that there are no obstructions or objects left in corridors or entrance halls, which could make it difficult to evacuate or could even help the fire spread.
Our fire safety policies, which are reviewed annually and include the Stay Put policy, are all approved by the fire service. Our health and safety officer works with the fire service and independent experts, regularly carrying out safety checks at all schemes. All of our buildings are compliant with both fire safety and building regulations.
Cladding on buildings
Many customers will have seen the huge media coverage that the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower has attracted. Reynobond PE, which features a type of plastic in its core, is suspected to have contributed to the fire spreading so quickly on the exterior of the tower. Derwent Living doesn’t own any large tower blocks like Grenfell, and no smaller apartment blocks are clad in Reynobond PE.
Stay Put policy
Residents living in certain Derwent Living flats or apartments are asked to follow our Stay Put policy. This policy has received criticism in media following Grenfell, but in the smaller type of blocks that Derwent Living owns it is really the best way to protect you and your family from a fire.
If you have such a policy in operation at your scheme, there will be signage in your building to tell you what to do and you can also find a copy on our website in the publications area. Please read this information carefully.
Stay Put policies make use of fire doors which offer significant protection from fire. The fire doors in Derwent Living flats prevent the spread of fire for a minimum of 30 minutes, allowing time for the fire service to arrive. If the fire is outside of your flat, or preventing your exit from the building, the advice is to close as many doors as possible between yourself and the fire and await rescue. As mentioned earlier, Derwent Living does not own any high-rise buildings, and even on the top floor of our tallest buildings, the fire service has the necessary equipment to be able to reach at that height.
If you live in a house, not a flat, then the advice is to evacuate immediately.
Have a plan
Above all, always remember to use your instincts. No matter what type of property you live in, always have a plan, practice it and make sure the whole family knows what to do. It can save valuable time and lives.
If you’re concerned, we recommend that you check the fire safety guidance for your scheme, especially those living in flats. And please feel free to send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01332 346477.
Fire door safety for leaseholders
Our recent leaflet on fire door safety for leaseholders can can now be downloaded.