Fire & Rescue, Social Housing
Following the report, disagreements have been exposed over personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) and stay put policies for people with disabilities or limited mobility in high rise residential blocks.
In response to its own fire safety consultation, the government has proposed that the details of any residents requiring assistance to evacuate should be made available to their local fire and rescue services. This information could also be placed in a premises information box.
However, the requirement of PEEPs would be limited to only residents of higher risk buildings with a waking watch in place.
Sakina Afrasehabi, a disabled woman, died in the Grenfell Tower fire as did her sister Fatemeh Afrasiabi. Their family launched a legal challenge to the government’s failure to implement the inquiry’s recommendation for all those needing assistance to evacuate, forcing the government to agree to run a further consultation specifically on PEEPs.
The government also agreed to pay the family’s legal costs, and to disclose notes and minutes of a special interest group meeting, held with guidance of the Fire Industry Association (FIA) on 22 April 2020, set up to advise the Home Office on the implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations.
According to IFSEC Global, the notes of the meeting make clear that ‘participants were sceptical on the wholesale use of PEEPs for people with disabilities in high rise residential blocks’ saying it was “completely impracticable and not doable,” as such buildings do not have the staff available to assist with evacuation.
The FIA said: “It would also be extremely difficult to keep any such PEEPs up-to-date in a building with a dynamically changing occupancy and sub-let flats (in which there is little or no interaction between the building owner and the residents). Consideration might be given to person-centred risk assessments, telecare- enabled smoke alarms, etc. for disabled residents who seek such support.”
The provision of telecare-enabled smoke alarms is one solution to enhancing the safety of vulnerable residents. The use of technology that remotely monitors the home environment 24/7 and generates live data that illustrates the real-time risk level for each property has the potential to mitigate risk for social housing residents who live with a long-term disability.
Nick Rutter, FireAngel’s Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, said: “Using remote alarm monitoring, Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive data analysis, connected safety technology also has the potential to identify a fire risk before it escalates to a 999 call.
“Not only can the data monitored in real-time alert social landlords to the status of alarms in the property when they are triggered, but also when they need to be replaced.”
Connection to the IoT enables landlords to monitor important features such as the building’s age and condition, as well as the wear and tear of electrical appliances.
“Being able to combine this information with data on individuals’ physical or mental status is also important. If a person has dementia, is partially sighted or uses a wheelchair, they will be slow to respond in the event of a fire,” says Nick Rutter.
“Using connected technology, a person-centred approach can be applied to fire safety procedures and systems. Adopting this approach means safeguards can be implemented, managed and maintained according to a vulnerable resident’s individual needs, helping to support many of the requirements set out in the Charter for Social Housing Residents.”
Real-time, remote safety monitoring, AI technology and future-proofing properties to manage and mitigate emerging risks can provide an important safety net for vulnerable residents. At FireAngel, we’re leading the way in IoT and AI innovations through the development of advanced safety solutions tailored to the needs of housing providers.
Since 1998, over 50 million FireAngel devices have been installed and protection provided for over 15 million homes. We’re committed to delivering a safer society through data-driven approaches, patented connected technology and trusted partnerships.