Shabana has written to the Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service about the latest guidance on simultaneous evacuation.
The updated guidance on simultaneous evacuation was recently published by the National Fire Chief’s Council and relates to the provision of waking watch and simultaneous evacuation procedures.
Constituents affected by the cladding scandal are facing bills of tens of thousands for remediation works and bills for interim measures to protect residents, such as waking watch, are continue to rise.
Comments recently made by Roy Wilsher, NFCC Chair, confirmed that waking watch should be a short term measure to mitigate risk.
In her letter, Shabana asks the CFO to outline what work has taken place alongside building management and tenant bodies in order to implement the latest guidance.
You can read her letter in full below.
Letter to the Chief Fire Officer
Dear Mr Loach
I am writing regarding the plight of residents in Birmingham Ladywood affected by the cladding and insulation of leasehold properties, further to guidance issued by the NFCC on October 1st 2020 regarding simultaneous evacuation.
You will be aware that over the last twelve months I have campaigned on behalf of constituents regarding the cladding scandal, where leaseholders in buildings clad in combustible materials are facing bills of tens of thousands for remediation works.
One of the concerns that BrumLAG and UKCAG members have previously raised relates to the provision of waking watch, to ensure round-the-clock surveillance of affected buildings. My constituents inform me that the bills for waking watch continue to rise, compounding the dire financial situation in which leaseholders have found themselves through no fault of their own.
In comments following the publication of updated guidance on simultaneous evacuation, NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher confirmed that waking watch should be a short term measure to mitigate risk, and that building owners should move to install common fire alarms as quickly as possible to reduce dependence on waking watch. He also stated that waking watches and the arrangements for existing buildings should be reviewed regularly.
In light of the comments made by Roy Wilsher, can you please answer the following:
- If West Midlands Fire Service have liaised with management at affected buildings in order to discuss the updated guidance?
- If West Midlands Fire Service will seek to reduce dependence on waking watch in buildings where common fire alarm systems and additional mitigations have been introduced?
- If West Midlands Fire Service has introduced a programme to regularly review existing arrangements since the publication of updated guidance?
I recognise that the safety and wellbeing of existing residents is of paramount importance, and I will continue to recommend that leaseholders adhere to existing safety guidance as issued by the NFCC.
I am sure that you will agree that we should seek to reduce the financial burden on residents in the safest possible way.
I look forward to receiving your response.
Shabana Mahmood MP