Chichester residents have been urged to review their fire safety procedures following the horrific Grenfell Tower blaze in London.
Chichester District Council is encouraging people to examine what safety measures they have in place after the tragic loss of life in the capital tower block inferno last week.
Cllr Jane Kilby, Cabinet Member for Housing at Chichester District Council, says residents should check fire alarms are working and be aware of potential escape routes should a fire break out.
She said: “What happened at the Grenfell Tower in North Kensington was just horrific and our thoughts are with all of those who lost their lives, those who were affected by this dreadful incident, and of course the heroic emergency services working at the site.
“We would urge everyone to review their home safety procedures following this incident, regardless of the type of property you live in. Please make sure that you check that your fire alarms are working and you know where your escape routes are.
“We no longer manage our own council housing stock and there are no high rise buildings within the district. However, we want to reassure our residents that other accommodation that we do own, including our temporary accommodation at Westward House, meets the required safety standards, as outlined in the Housing Act 2004 and the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
“Westward House has always had good fire protection in place, but we took the opportunity to further improve this when the building was last refurbished in 2012-13. With the help and guidance of the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, we installed a new fire detection and warning system which is connected to our Chichester Careline 24 hour control centre.”
Cllr Kilby added that the council also replaced all windows to meet the very latest standards and said she wanted to reassure people that each unit of accommodation has adequate fire separation from adjacent units.
She added: “As a council, we have also invested considerable resources to improve living conditions in ‘houses of multiple occupation’ through our landlord accreditation scheme. The scheme was originally targeted at shared student accommodation, but this has extended over time. We now have nearly 400 accredited houses in the district, all of which have to meet fire safety standards as part of the scheme.
“We also run a ‘Homefinder’ service, which helps people to secure accommodation in the private rented sector. All accommodation within this scheme is inspected by our Environmental Health team and this assessment includes making sure that fire safety has been reviewed within each property.
“We are also required to licence houses of multiple occupation that have three or more storeys, housing five or more people. The responsibility for fire safety rests with the landlord of a property, but we want to reassure people that we only issue a licence if we are sure that the appropriate fire safety standards are met.”