The H&F response to the Grenfell Tower fire
Updated: Thursday 22 June 2017
Families being housed in H&F
We currently have 43 families affected by the fire in hotels in Hammersmith & Fulham.
Each of them has been visited by H&F social workers and housing officers to make sure they are receiving the support and practical help they need at this devastating time. H&F staff will continue to visit them every day and to help any new families that arrive.
“Support for these traumatised families from RBKC, and latterly from the combined Grenfell Fire Response Team, has been slow to reach many of the people who have arrived in our borough,” says Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan. “So we have stepped up to make sure they are getting what they need. Whether that’s a mobile phone to keep in touch with relatives, transport to school or bereavement counselling, we’re there for them.
“Thanks to the incredible generosity of local people, community organisations and businesses, we also have an extensive supply of clothes, toiletries, toys and other supplies. We’re very pleased to welcome these families into our community and that they are now getting the support they need.”
We are opening a local children’s centre so that children living in hotels have somewhere to play. It will also give families somewhere to meet up, relax and use computers, phones, and a kitchen.
H&F Council is also arranging hot meals for people placed in hotels without full catering.
Grenfell Tower Response Team
The emergency response to the Grenfell fire is now being co-ordinated by a combined Grenfell Tower Response Team. Like councils across London, H&F is contributing specialist staff, including social workers, rest centre managers and emergency services staff, and we have accommodation on stand-by, if it’s needed.
A Red Cross helpline is in action to give practical or emotional support. The number is 0800 458 9472.
High-rise fire safety in H&F
In Hammersmith & Fulham, we have 15 council housing blocks of 12 storeys or more. Our tallest buildings are three, 23-storey blocks on Edward Woods estate in North Kensington.
We have reviewed fire safety, and have fire risk assessments for all these blocks.
We also have some of the country’s best independent experts validating our Fire Risk Assessments as part of our action plan following the Shepherds Court fire in August 2016.
We are working on plans to install sprinkler systems in all our tower blocks.
We understand how concerned people are following the Grenfell Tower fire. We currently have fire officers visiting our estates to talk to residents and check fire safety arrangements, and letters have been sent to all residents in high-rise blocks.
In light of the events at Grenfell Tower, we are seeking urgent advice from LFB on whether they intend to change their advice on high-rise safety.
Fire Brigade advice - are you prepared?
Residents are being reminded of London Fire Brigade’s advice to be prepared and to make sure the whole family knows what to do in a fire. Here’s the advice on the London Fire Brigade website.
The fire brigade updated their advice on 22 June 2017 on when to get out or to stay put in a tower block fire.
Book a home fire safety visit. The fire brigade offer residents a free home fire safety check. If you would like to book, there are details on their website, or call 0800 028 4428.
Public Health England also released a statement allaying fears about the risk of smoke to local residents following the fire (pdf).
Blocks with cladding
We have no blocks in H&F that have cladding like that used on Grenfell Tower.
We have three blocks at the Edward Woods Estate that have cladding. This work was done between 2010 and 2013. However, the cladding system uses fire-resistant stonewool insulation which is very different from that used at Grenfell Tower.
These three blocks, which share design features with Shepherds Court, are being reviewed by independent experts as part of our action plan following the Shepherds Court fire last summer. This includes extensive testing, the results of which are due at the end of September.
Shepherds Court, and its sister blocks on the Charecroft estate in Shepherds Bush Green, do not have cladding.