Review of fire safety measures in multi storey buildings with social housing in Limerick

  • Limerick City and County Council

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in London on the early morning of 14 June 2017 highlights the critical importance of fire safety in buildings and the need for sustained vigilance in this regard.

Following the tragedy, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy has requested that all local authorities should review their multi-storey social housing buildings to ensure that they are meeting their statutory obligations with regards to Fire Safety with the emphasis on life safety.

While the exact circumstances surrounding the Grenfell fire have yet to be established, any information that emerges on contributing factors will be used as part of a ‘lessons learnt approach’ to improving fire safety standards and approaches in this country.

Chief Fire Officer, Limerick Fire and Rescue Service, Michael Ryan said: “The Grenfell tragedy is a reminder of the dangers posed by fire and the need for vigilance at all times. As directed by government, Limerick City and County Council will be reviewing all multi-storey social housing buildings to ensure compliance, while I’m reminding all building owners, management companies, leasers and occupiers of the requirements and obligations under fire legislation. These state that all appropriate measures are to be taken by the person having control of a building to prevent fires and to ensure the safety of persons in the event of fire breaking out in a building.”

He added: “Consequently all building owners and occupiers are requested, as a matter of urgency, to review their multi-storey buildings to ensure that they are meeting their statutory obligations in regards to Fire Safety with the emphasis on life safety.“

The review should concentrate on common areas with a primary focus on ensuring that all early warning systems, including fire alarm and detection systems, emergency lighting and means of escape including corridors, stairways and emergency exits are in place and fully functional.

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government’s “Guide to Fire Safety in Flats, Bedsits and Apartments” addresses the protection of life from fire in existing flats and buildings containing flats and provides guidance for a person having control of a building across a number of areas, including:

  • Management of Fire Safety
  • Means of Escape, including Fire Detection and Alarm
  • Structural Fire Precautions

The Fire Service of Limerick City and County Council is appealing to everyone to be aware of the following measures which provide protection from the dangers of fire, including:

  • Smoke alarms to give early warning of fire
  • Regular testing of smoke alarms;
  • Prevention of fire through control of ignition sources, for example unplugging electrical appliances, including phone chargers at night, extinguishing fires and candles
  • Having a plan in place for evacuation in the event of fire or alarm, including assistance to the very young, very old or vulnerable members and calling for fire service assistance
  • Practicing putting the evacuation plan into action.

Particular attention must be paid by those in control over buildings of more than six storeys, or more than 18m in height, with cladding or cladding systems present, to carry out a fire safety assessment of the premises, including the cladding system and concealed spaces (cavities) in the external wall construction.

This assessment should include passive and active fire safety measures, as well as management of fire safety in the building.

For more details and for advice contact the Fire Service of Limerick City and County Council 061 556859 or email fireservice@limerick.ie