High Rise Flats: Fire Prevention

Home Office written question – answered on 19th November 2020.

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Photo of Royston Smith Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of a waking watch in tackling fire safety in high-rise residential buildings.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Minister of State, Home Department

Under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is for the Responsible Person to ensure appropriate fire safety measures are in place within their building. This can include, where relevant, ensuring that there is a waking watch in place, that this is tested and works. Local Fire and Rescue Services and other enforcers of the Fire Safety Order can take action where appropriate if the responsible person fails to comply with their duties under the order.

The revised guidance simultaneous evacuation guidance produced by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) reflects best practice and can be located at https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Simultaneous-evacuation-guidance.

The guidance encourages greater use of more cost-effective measures such as alarm systems to replace or reduce dependency on waking watch wherever possible. This is further supported by the publication of the costs of waking watches on 16 October, which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-safety-programme-waking-watch-costs

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