Meriden Fire safety meeting to Answer concerns of Residents of Meriden High rise Flats.

Local Community Meet for Fire Safety answers to their high rise homes.

Watford Housing Trust attended a meeting held by Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service at the Community Centre.


Following concerns after a fire on the top floor of the Meriden Abbey View on 26th June, only weeks after Grenfell Tragedy.


Occupants were able to meet the Trust staff and Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue professionals to get advice and reassurance over fire safety issues.


Around 80 residents including children and elderley attended to get answers.


At 7pm the meeting started with Station Commander Jim Moran opened proceedings by introducing himself, Watch Commander Adair, Fire Prevention officer Mr. Jim Attenborough and the crew of White watch from Garston fire station.


Matters raised were about evacuation, most common causes of fires, which are smoking and cooking.


Also reminded residents to be more aware living in flats. Borehamwood also has high rise flats are similar.


A strong emphasis was made on shift in peoples smoking habits, with more choosing to smoke outside which for residents of high-rise accommodation often means out on balconies, to put them out properly using either into sand bucket or water.



With kitchens the most common sources of fires in recent years had been unattended grills or hobs, luckily the the trend of Deep Fat Fryers has declined.


And if any electrical appliances are causing mains to trip, they should be isolated and looked at by a competent person before being re-used as this is often a sign of something seriously wrong. – register your appliances 


It is apparent that the flats which were built 60 years ago, may not be totally as safe and what the safest currently is. But these are being taking seriously by the Trust who want to ensure safety is upmost priority.


Total evacuation would restrict and slow down access from firefighters moving up the building.


"All buildings are held responsible for Fire Regulations to be enforced."


Advice for High Rise residents about policies and recommendations. Fire and Rescue website for their  “High Rise Flats: What you Need to Know” pages.


WCHT hand out FAQ of advice for Abbey View and munden View.


Is the "Stay put" policy correct? Yes, as fire service will evacuate if deemed necessary.


Will a communal Sprinkler system be installed?

Even though there is no legal requirement, the trust are preparing a detailed report to board members to consider new options and to adapt current fire safety measures.


Will external panelling be replaced?

Samples have been sent to the BRE which happens to be in Garston, but results are having t be done along with the hundreds of other samples from around London.


Currently there the two blocks have emergency lighting, Dry risers, smoke alarms, and Fire Risk Easement inspections annually.


Current ongoing actions relate to corridors and escape routes which are must be kept clear at all times.


"we are currently in process of completing remedial actions contained in the latest assessment of June 22nd."


Samples include the Blue panelling, along with a Phenolic Foam insulation which sits in between the panel and the concrete wall. The trust say the building has a BBA Certificate and rated as Zero.


We were told by Peter of WCHT, that it is a pink foam with a foil layer either side.

similar looking foam was tested on the BBC's panorama programme, an it did not look good.


Video of some Fire Testing on Insulation Materials shows positive results


How these are tested makes a difference. The programme only showed how potentially they are able to combust alight, but these were not the same tests used by regulators.


Crews from Garston Watford St Albans and Kings Langley attended Garsmouth Way Garston to report of fire in high rise building.Smoke bellowed as the fire is extinguished and contained.


If you have a fire or see smoke in your flat:

  • leave the room where the fire is straight away, and then close the door
  • tell everyone in your home and get them to leave
  • close the front door of your flat behind you
  • don't stay behind to put the fire out
  • always use the stairs, not the lift
  • call the fire service and wait outside, well away from the building.


see Fire and Rescue website for their  “High Rise Flats: What you Need to Know” pages.


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