Councillor Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Resident Participation, marks the sixth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy
Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services and Resident Participation, marks the 6 year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people tragically lost their lives.
The tragic events of the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 must never be forgotten.
Six years on from the fire in the West London tower block that ultimately claimed the lives of 72 people, the harrowing images and stories still stay with me and my thoughts remain with all those who lost friends and family as a result.
No-one wants to see the dreadful scenes of that night repeated and it has quite rightly made fire safety a top priority for every social housing provider across the country. It has always been an important issue for Hackney Council and we remain committed to doing all we can to ensure our residents are safe in their homes.
Today staff across the Council have shown their solidarity with those who died in Grenfell and those who lost loved ones by wearing green and supporting the aims of the Green For Grenfell campaign.
Since the Grenfell Tower fire, the Council has invested in an extensive programme of fire safety improvements across its homes and estates. We have:
- replaced the old type insulation on a number of estates further ensuring those blocks are safe, without passing the cost onto leaseholders
- published all the fire risk assessments of our blocks of flats on our website - in fact we were one of the first local authorities to do so
- led calls to government to improve fire safety regulations, including ensuring leaseholders and shared owners are not forced to pay the cost of making buildings with dangerous cladding safe and requiring a second staircase on all new buildings above 18 metres
- updated plans for our own new buildings of over 30 metres where construction has not begun - even where planning permission has already been secured - to ensure they are in line with new safety guidance
- replaced around 2,500 front doors to flats and thousands more will be replaced as part of a multi-million initiative to ensure the doors meet the government’s enhanced fire regulations
- brought our fire safety work together under our Resident Safety Team. This team is responsible for carrying out fire risk assessments on the Council’s blocks and properties to ensure any necessary fire safety measures are put in place
- committed to replacing all upvc window insulated panels in high rise blocks as part of planned major works across the next few years
- ensured clear fire safety signs are placed in communal areas of our blocks of flats explaining what residents should do if a fire breaks out
- installed sprinklers and dry riser systems
- identified vulnerable residents living in our blocks and ensured we have evacuation plans in place for them in the event of a fire
- carried out fire risk assessments on a rolling cycle and followed recommendations that these have made to keep residents safe
- targeted private sector and housing association homes with ACM cladding and taken enforcement action against five private sector and housing association blocks in Hackney to ensure the removal of cladding
- targeted private sector and housing association homes to ensure general fire safety improvements are in place - including fire doors, alarm systems, structural and fabric alterations
On top of this work there are also simple common sense steps that you, our tenants, can also follow to ensure your safety and that of others. You can:
- read the fire action notices in your block’s communal area to ensure you are aware of what to do if there is a fire in your home or block
- ensure all communal areas and exit routes are kept clear
- regularly test your smoke alarms and make sure any doors close automatically behind you, including your flat front door
- regularly test your smoke alarms
All of the steps we are taking - and the simple steps you can take as well - are designed to help save lives should a fire break out. No-one ever wants to see a repeat of the 14 June 2017.
For more information visit https://hackney.gov.uk/keeping-council-homes-safe