Advice and reassurance for tenants living in high-rise blocks following London fire

The recent tragic fire in London has highlighted the importance of fire safety in high-rise blocks of flats.

The safety of tenants and residents is of utmost importance to Perth & Kinross Council. We work alongside the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on an ongoing basis to regularly review our fire safety and prevention arrangements to ensure that we protect the safety of tenants and residents.

We have introduced a range of fire safety and prevention measures in our high-rise blocks as part of our capital improvement programme, including door entry systems, hard-wired smoke detectors in our properties, fire retardant paint in closes and fire doors in individual Council flats.

The Council can also reassure tenants and residents that the insulation material used to clad buildings in Perth and Kinross is very different to the material used at Grenfell Tower in London. The materials we have used are non-combustible, and are fixed directly to the existing wall surface and then covered with a layer of rendering - there is no air gap behind the material that would help spread any fire.

Following the London fire we will comprehensively review our arrangements and consider any improvements or actions needed, in line with best practice.

Housing staff will today (Thursday 16th June) visit every tenant and resident in our six high-rise blocks to deliver fire safety information to them and to discuss any concerns that they might have. We will also hold drop-in sessions this month for tenants and residents at the blocks to discuss fire safety and answer questions.

The Council would urge all tenants and residents to make themselves aware of the fire procedures in their blocks of flats. Fire action notices are posted in communal areas laying out the procedure in the event of a fire.

Tenants and residents should regularly test smoke alarms in their properties to ensure they are working. If you think there is an issue with your smoke alarm you can report it to our Repairs Centre by calling 01738 476000 and selecting Option 1. You can also email housingrepairs@pkc.gov.uk

People can also help to ensure that their blocks are as safe as possible by keeping  communal areas clear at all times. Items such as prams, baby buggies, sofas, furniture, washing machines and bags of rubbish that are often left in the communal areas of blocks are a fire risk. Ignition of such items poses the threat of fire and serious danger to all occupants in the block. These items could also hamper an evacuation in the event of a fire.

When the Council notices such items left in communal areas, tenants and residents of the block will be asked to remove them. If they are not removed then further action will be taken. If you have concerns about items that have been left in a communal area in your block please report them to your Area Housing Team on 01738 476000.

Fire doors in communal areas should also be kept closed and never propped open. These doors are designed to contain a fire should one break out. All entry doors to blocks should be kept securely closed to stop people who should not be in the block from entering. 

The Council's Housing and Communities Convener, Councillor Peter Barrett, said: "The tragic events in London last night are truly shocking and horrific, and my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the missing.

"The Council will continue to work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and our tenants to ensure that our blocks are as safe as they can be. An initial review carried out following the London fire has given us reassurance that we have good fire safety procedures in place but we can never be complacent and will continue to look at what else we can do.

"If anyone has any fire safety concerns you can report them to your local Housing Team by calling 01738 476000 and choosing option 2. Our staff are there to help."

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service offers free home safety visits to make sure that fire risk is minimised and to give out useful fire safety advice. If you would like a visit please call 0800 731 999 or text 'Fire' to 80800.