Fire safety advice
Paul Hobbs, fire brigade borough commander for Islington
“It was my childhood dream of becoming a firefighter, and I’ve been doing it for 24 years. I love what I do, it is so much more than a job. If you speak to anybody in the brigade they would all tell you how much they love being part of it.
“I first applied at 19 and joined Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service back in 1994 before joining London Fire Brigade (LFB) in 2000.
“I was posted to stations in Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets, before being promoted to Borough Commander.
“The terrible fire at Grenfell Tower has claimed many lives, caused devastation to families and the local community, and will forever be etched into the history of LFB and London.
“It is important to know that if you live in a high rise property you are not at more risk of a fire starting. Our advice is that people who live in high rise purpose built flats or maisonettes, aside from having a smoke alarm and taking fire safety precautions, is to make sure you know the escape route and what to do if there is a fire inside your home or somewhere else in the building.
“If a fire is inside your flat or maisonette our advice is to alert everybody in your flat and leave, closing your doors behind you. You should follow your escape plan and if there is lots of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air should be clearer. Always use the stairs rather than lifts and call 999 as soon as you are in a safe place.
“If a fire is elsewhere in the building then the structure of the building – walls, floors, doors – are designed to give you a minimum of 30-60 minutes’ protection from a fire to enable you to remain in your flat whilst it is dealt with by the Fire Service. If a fire is elsewhere in your building then you are usually safer to stay in your flat unless the heat or smoke from the fire is affecting you, in which case you can leave via the stairs if safe to do so. If it is not safe to leave and you do remain in your flat call 999 and tell them which flat you are in.
“The brigade offers free home fire safety visits. We give residents advice about kitchen safety, bedtime routines and other fire risk and where needed supply and fit smoke alarms for free.
“Residents can contact their local fire stations if they want an appointment, or go online and book here.”