West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s deepest sympathies are with those affected by the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower, in London, and our thoughts are with all of the emergency services dealing with this tragic loss of life.
This terrible event is still unfolding and the circumstances of what has gone on are still very unclear, traumatic and challenging for all concerned.
At this stage further speculation would be unhelpful but we can reassure West Sussex residents that incidents such as this are, thankfully, rare and we work closely with local authorities, developers, housing associations, landlords and tenants, to help ensure that fire safety in high rise accommodation is safe and appropriate.
If there is a fire inside your flat or maisonette our advice is to alert all of the people in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than the lift and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.
If there is a fire elsewhere in the building then the structure of your flat – walls, floors and doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire.
If there is a fire in your building, but not inside your own home, then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you. If you stay put you should still immediately call 999.
It is important to remember that the advice provided to tenants in these circumstances can and does change depending on the operational circumstances that present themselves at what are usually very dynamic incidents.
This advice is part of a preventative approach to help tenants develop an initial safe escape plan. Once a 999 call is made, and firefighters arrive at the fire, then the advice may be reinforced or change depending on the nature of the fire, the building and its tenants.
Anyone with immediate concerns about their property can call our Business Fire Safety Team on 0330 222 3333 (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). In an emergency always dial 999.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is at the heart of West Sussex County Council's Communities and Public Protection Directorate, working to support communities to become safer, stronger and more resilient through a combination of prevention, protection and response activities.