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Lakanal House fire verdict inspires tower block safety campaign

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Lakanal House fire verdict inspires tower block safety campaign

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Housing

Regeneration specialist saves Coventry's last 'Jackblock' tower Regeneration specialist saves Coventry's last 'Jackblock' tower

A campaign to raise awareness of fire safety in tower blocks across Wolverhampton is set to start this week - in the wake of the coroner’s verdict of the Lakanal House fire.

ALMO Wolverhampton Homes and West Midlands Fire Service have teamed up to promote a new ‘Stay Safe, Stay Put’ message for tenants living in high rise blocks of flats.

There are nearly 50 high rise blocks of flats in Wolverhampton and housing bosses are eager to make sure tenants know exactly what to do in the event of a fire

Tower blocks are designed to withstand fires but in the wake of 2009's Lakanal House fire in London, which killed six people, fire chiefs are keen to reinforce safety messages for people living in high rise flats.

Tenants are being reminded that if a fire breaks out in their flat they need to close the doors, get out and stay out. However, if a fire breaks out in a communal area like a landing or staircase, the advice is to stay put in your flat.

Flats are built to withstand fires but the real danger is when people try to escape and end up being overcome by smoke fumes.

Simon Barry, West Midlands Fire Service group commander for Black Country North, said. “People who live in tower blocks are no more at risk from fire than someone in a house. If there’s a fire in a communal area then our message is simple - stay put in your flat. You’re safer there. If the fire isn’t in your flat then sit tight and let us deal with the fire – it’s more dangerous for you to leave and risk being overcome by smoke.”

Sue Kunynec, director of corporate services at Wolverhampton Homes, added: “Keeping people safe is the most important thing to us so we’re hoping this campaign will make people more aware about what to do if there is a fire. We’ve got more than 2,000 high rise flats and it’s important that people know what to do.

"We also hope it gets people thinking about how they can do simple things like check their smoke alarms every week which could one day ultimately save their lives.”

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