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Q&A With The Harrow LFB (London Fire Brigade)

A meeting was held between HAD staff/trustees, the Harrow LFB (London Fire Brigade) and members of the Harrow community regarding Fire Safety and Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs). Following the meeting some written questions were given to Rob Hazzard, Borough Commander for Harrow, and he has kindly responded. Please find the questions and answers below.

Question from Angela Dias, Development Lead at HAD: Has anyone kept a record across the UK of how many disabled people have died or been badly injured in fires in the last few decades? Are there records regarding this statistic in Harrow?

Answer from Harrow LFB: UK Records are available on

england-year-ending-march-2022 As for London and Harrow, the following stats are from 2009/10 to present day. London Fire Fatalities - (note the spike in 17/18, 72 lives lost at Grenfell Tower)

Harrow Stats from 2009/10 to present day (fire fatalities only)

I’m currently trying to gather information regarding statistics on how many of these

involved disabled people.

Question from Krupesh Hirani, member of the London Assembly for Brent and Harrow: I have loved ones who do not speak English as their first language and find it difficult to source information if it is only provided in English. The need for information to be provided in several formats (e.g. - large print, easy read, numerous languages) is important. What is being done by the LFB in Harrow to address this?

Answer from Harrow LFB: The LFB is currently in transition due to our change in HSFV strategy. (Home Fire Safety Visit). All previous literature has been destroyed as to avoid confusion with outdated phone numbers, advice etc. New literature is in the process of being printed, this literature will be available in numerous languages which we will obtain and distribute to Hubs such as the community rooms on the High Road, Wealdstone etc.

Question from Jan Eames, manager of Deaf Services at HAD: Would you agree that both flashing alarms and vibrating pads would assist both Deaf and Hearing-Impaired people as they are unlikely to be aware of normal fire alarms.  Without implementing PEEPs this would be an issue.  Do you think Harrow can help influence change in this regard?

Answer from Harrow LFB: The LFB has the capacity to provide Hard of Hearing residents with the flashing and vibrating alerts required to ensure they realise an alarm has been raised. I envisage working closely with Deaf services at HAD and other Borough initiatives over the coming months to identify those requiring these alarms and getting them fitted ASAP. It is not a requirement for a resident to have a PEEP in place in order to have a hard of hearing alarm.

Question from Umesh Raichada, manager of the SWiSH service at HAD: If a neurodivergent individual panics when they hear loud noises, without a prior arranged plan and even a practiced run through, does the LFB in Harrow feel this would make evacuation more difficult?

Answer from Harrow LFB: Firefighters are trained to deal with numerous different situations through dynamic risk assessment. At an incident such as this, where a neurodiverse resident is struggling with the noise levels, amount of people, strangers etc, the FF’s will adapt their style and actions to assist and treat the resident with the upmost respect and dignity to ensure they evacuate effectively.

Question from Lynn Hurst, manager of the Harrow MS Therapy Centre: It may seem apparent to say that people that have mobility issues should not be housed in high-rise buildings, however, many people acquire their condition when they are already housed. Their family members, friends and care system are reliant on that area and there isn t an abundance of accessible housing in Harrow. Therefore, an evacuation plan is sometimes easier than rehousing the person. Fire safety is a concern for all involved.

Keeping this in mind can you understand why a person wouldn’t want their loved one to

“stay put” In case of a fire?

Answer from Harrow LFB: Post Grenfell Tower, it is entirely understandable that families of residents in high rise buildings are skeptical about the ‘Stay Put’ policy. We continue to endorse this, where the building has a stay put policy in place, as it really is the safest way for high rise residents to act if there is a fire in their building. Residents can enhance their safety in their own buildings by reading the Fire Safety literature about living in a High-Rise building. These will be ready with all the new literature currently at print. We will also provide these leaflets to the Hub as soon as we get them. You can also access this information via the LFB website.

Question from Marcia Antony, Trustee of HAD: My name is Marcia Antony, I am a trustee of HAD and a wheelchair user. The front door to my property is powered by electricity and helps me leave and gain access as I cannot open the door independently, however the electricity would stop working if there was a fire and there is no backup battery pack. It seems to me that the council went with the lowest quote, to be seen as doing the right thing, and not considering my actual safety. Have you ever come across this situation before and what are your thoughts?

Answer from Harrow LFB: Apologies for the mass of information, but this is the legislation covering your query, you may want to speak to your building manager, landlord etc to ensure your building is compliant. This info comes straight from the Brigade Fire Safety Dept that deals with such legislation -

Approved Document M (access to and use of buildings) is the first reference point, then

BS 8300: Door opening forces, and BS EN 1154 covers the expectations relating to door

closing (this is important as required for flat front doors under the RRO).

What do the regulations state?

British standard BS 8300-2:2018, in tandem with Approved Document Doc M, provides

practical guidance on how to meet the minimum standards required to comply with the

Equality Act. The guidance in BS 8300 indicates the following in relation to permissible

door opening forces:

• Opening a door from 0 to 30 degrees (from the closed-door position), a maximum of 30N pressure shall be required.

• From 30 to 60 degrees, the maximum force required shall be 22.5N.

• The measurements shall be taken at the leading edge of a door. However, where this not possible, they may be taken up to 60mm in from the edge and approximately in line

vertically with the centre line of the door handle, and an additional 2N is permissible when measuring this way.

• A tolerance of 2-3N is acceptable on all readings. Therefore, total maximum force

allowed for under BS 8300 is 35N (0-30°) and 27.5N (30-60°).

BS EN 1154 covers the expectations relating to door closing, relative to achieving required safety on fire doors. It states that the self-closing device on a fire door (required by Building Regulations Document B) must give a minimum closing force of 18Nm, and sufficient to close the door fully against whatever latch (or other) resistance that exists. The requirements of the two pieces of legislation set up competing demands to achieve accessibility for all as well as full-time fire safety. Both are vital objectives, however, and it is important that both are met.


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