Fire safety: Updated information for our customers

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London, we’ve spoken to a number of customers who contacted us for advice and reassurance.

If you live in a Riverside property and you’re concerned about fire safety, we hope the information below helps to put your mind at rest. However, if you’d like to talk to us, please call us on 0345 111 0000.

How do you keep people living in blocks of flats safe from fire?
The safety of our customers is our absolute priority and we comply with our legal responsibilities to keep you safe. This includes carrying out fire risk assessments in all buildings where they are needed, including blocks of flats, and taking follow up action where required. Wherever fire alarms, fire doors and safety equipment are needed in communal schemes, we fit them and they are checked regularly.

If you live in a high-rise property or a block of flats/maisonettes, you are not at more risk of a fire starting.

What caused the fire at Grenfell Tower to spread so quickly? 
It appears likely that the cladding fitting to the outside of the building contributed to the spread of fire, and the government has initiated checks across the country on similar buildings.  None of Riverside’s high-rise buildings are similar to Grenfell Tower.

I’ve heard cladding mentioned. Has Riverside installed cladding and is it safe?

High-rise buildings: We own one high-rise block in Bromley, London, and no cladding has been fitted there. We have contacted all the customers in that block to reassure them and answer any questions they might have.

The fire detection system in that block is tested regularly and is in good working order.  The building is safe and the annual Fire Risk Assessment was completed on 17 May 2017. Weekly checks are also carried out, and we will continue to work with residents to make sure any advice from London Fire Brigade is followed closely.  

We also manage a nine-storey block in Sandwell, West Midlands. No cladding has been installed there and, again, we are contacting customers to reassure them and answer any questions they might have.

Medium-rise buildings: We own or manage seven blocks of six storeys or more across the country. We have now established that none of these has the cladding associated with the Grenfell Tower Fire.

What if I live in a house and I’ve had external wall insulation installed?
The specifications for this material meet building regulations and it will be a completely different product to the kind of cladding used at Grenfell Tower.  The government and fire service have not raised any concerns related to these other types of cladding.

To stay safe from fire at home, check you have a working smoke alarm and a safe means of escape. If you don’t have an alarm, please contact us or your local fire service.

You can find some fire safety advice here. If you have any other concerns, please get in touch by visiting our Contact Us page.

What is a ‘stay put’ fire policy and is there one in my block?
In blocks of flats, the type of evacuation will be clearly stated on the Fire Action Notice in communal areas.

If there is a ‘stay put’ policy in place, this is because your building is designed to restrict the spread of fire and smoke between flats.

If the fire is somewhere else in the building, it will usually be safe for you stay in your flat with the front door closed for up to an hour while the emergency services tackle the fire and/or evacuate people safely. If there is a need to evacuate, the fire service will supervise this.

The use of a ‘stay put’ policy is common in purpose-built flats and is based on fire service advice. It is verified by our fire risk assessors who make sure we’re doing everything we need to in order to keep you safe.

London Fire Brigade have provided information and advice on what to do in the event of a fire in your home. You can read this here.

This information was last updated on 5 July, 2017.

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