Wolverhampton Homes and West Midlands Fire Service joined forces today, Wednesday 23 June, to undertake a fire training exercise at a tower block in the Boscobel area of Wolverhampton. The training, which lasted a total of three hours, saw five households volunteer to be evacuated from the block.
Wolverhampton Homes, which manages 22,000 properties on behalf of the City of Wolverhampton Council, including 36 tower blocks, teamed up with the fire service to run the exercise to test the effectiveness of their combined fire safety practices, policies and procedures. The training will also highlight any potential for learning that will improve their response to emergency situations.
The exercise was supported by over 40 staff from Wolverhampton Homes and the fire service, and compliments the housing company’s fire safety improvement programme, totalling in excess of £60 million, which is upgrading flats across the city with new and improved fire safety measures, including new fire doors, sprinklers, and enhanced fire detection systems over the next four years.
The exercise comes shortly after the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy, which claimed the lives of 72 people in 2017.
Shaun Aldis, Chief Executive for Wolverhampton Homes said:
“The safety and wellbeing of residents remains our top priority. We work closely with the council, West Midlands Fire Service, and other partners across the city to identify potential fire risks and put solutions in place to ensure these don’t escalate into an emergency situation.
“We recently appointed a new Building Safety Manager, who brings with him 20 years’ experience in fire safety across the public and private sectors, to lead our approach to fire safety in our properties.
“The exercise today at Kilsall Court demonstrates the effectiveness of our close working partnership. I would also like to thank residents for their full support and cooperation; without which today’s event would not have been possible.”
Wolverhampton Homes consulted with residents in advance of the exercise and tenants pledged their support by volunteering to take part in a mock evacuation.
I’m so glad I took part. It really opened my eyes to the speed and urgency the fire service work to when dealing with emergencies. I was really pleased to be involved and I hope they were able to learn from the experience as I know I did.”Joanne Smith, local tenant and member of Boscobel Tenants and Residents Association