Fire safety ideas for residential buildings with stay-put policies

Remember Grenfell Tower? (the London apartment building that went up in flames in 2017)

The building was covered in flammable cladding, and had no sprinklers, and no central fire alarm system. And, like many UK residential towers, they had a stay-put policy, meaning residents were not supposed to leave in a fire emergency. (Stay-put policies are uncommon in North America, except for New York City where they’re the norm.)

I’ve got 3 suggestions for any building with a stay-put policy, to make sure nothing like Grenfell ever happens again.

  1. Remove all flammable cladding. Period.
  2. Install a sprinkler system.
  3. Install a central fire alarm system with voice evacuation - this is not incompatible with stay-put policies. The automatic alarm message would be set to one like this:
    That way, if something really serious happens, a manual evacuation announcement can be made.

Any thoughts?

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Wow, really? I honestly thought that the only severe safety violation that Grenfell Tower had was the flammable cladding; I had no idea that they had no sprinklers or fire alarm system as well! (both of which definitely would’ve drastically reduced the scale of the disaster) When it comes to the “stay-put policy”, I say to hell with that except when absolutely necessary; it should be common sense that when a fire starts, get out fast & then call the fire department!

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Those residential buildings have fire-rated interior walls and are designed to prevent a fire from spreading between apartments. (obviously, in this case, the flammable cladding was a massive oversight.)

Here’s a case in NYC when adherence to the stay-put policy would have saved lives.

Imagine if both buildings had voice-evacuation systems… announcements would have been able to be made so that residents would have known what to do.

I’ve been to a recently-built (2011) residential building in NYC. It had sprinklers and a non-combustible facade (masonry), but no central fire alarm system!

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More like a deadly mistake made in the name of cutting costs (of course).

Oh, yeah, I suppose in situations like that it would be best for everyone to stay in place.

That last part is very surprising; I say it should have a fire alarm system added immediately.

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Turns out this actually exists!

The only gripe I have about this particular one is that the automatic alarm message leaves people in common areas confused. The message I posted a video of in my original post would fit better in my opinion.

Which automatic alarm message do you prefer for residential buildings with stay-put policies?

  • The message in the original post (“May I have your attention please. The alarm you are hearing is being investigated. Please listen for additional information which will be provided as soon as possible. Thank you.”)
  • Message in this reply (“Your attention please. Your attention please. If the fire is in your apartment, exit and close the unlocked door behind you. Use the stairs to go to a safe location. If the fire is not in your apartment, stay where you are and wait for additional instructions.”)

0 voters

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