Public consultation launched into high-rise fire safety

The safety of people living in high-rise flats across Scotland is the focus of a new public consultation launched by the Scottish Government.

Forming part of the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, the consultation calls for views on how to simplify the guidance available to everyone who lives in high-rise flats or is responsible for fire safety in high-rise flats.

Grenfell Tower - Image credit: Natalie Oxford

It also seeks views on proposals for a public information campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving rubbish or unwanted items in common areas within high-rises.

In December the government unveiled a raft of new safety measures to be introduced this year including sound alerts for evacuation in high rise buildings and extending the mandatory installation of sprinklers in new flats.

The new building standards legislation will also reduce the height from 18m to 11m and extend the range of new buildings for the use of non-combustible cladding.

Minister for community safety Ash Denham said: “The tragic events at Grenfell Tower emphasised how important building and fire safety is. In Scotland we have stringent regulations but are committed to further improving the safety of those living in high-rise flats.

“We want everyone who is responsible for fire safety in high rise domestic buildings to have easy access to guidance that is relevant, informative and will work in practice.

“The public’s views, particularly people and families living in high-rise flats, are vital in this process and I would encourage everyone with an interest to respond to our consultation and ensure their voice is heard.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assistant chief officer Ross Haggart said: “We are fully supportive of this consultation and any efforts to enhance the safety of residents within high rise premises.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind communities across Scotland that we are here to support them to stay safe, most notably through our free Home Fire Safety Visits where firefighters will provide safety advice and guidance on what to do in the event of an emergency.

“We are particularly keen to support the most elderly and vulnerable to stay safe within the home.

“There is also specific safety information relating to high rise premises on the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service website.

“We will meanwhile continue to routinely carry out operational assurance visits at high rise premises for the purposes of checking facilities and arrangements for firefighting and firefighter safety.”

The consultation closes on July 17.

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