Waking Watch guidance

Waking Watch guidance/Common Fire Alarm

This guidance note provides advice to building owners, their professional advisors and fire and rescue services on issues to consider where a decision is made, based on a comprehensive risk assessment carried out by a competent person, to suspend temporarily a stay put policy and adopt a simultaneous evacuation strategy.

Although written for those responsible for the safety of residents in purpose-built blocks of flats, the principles of this guidance may, in certain circumstances, be applied to other premises.

NFCC supports the ‘Fire safety in Purpose Built Block of Flats’ guidance hosted on the LGA website and developed by a wide range of stakeholders. The guidance remains appropriate for all purpose built blocks of flats.

However, the unique circumstances following the Grenfell Tower fire mean that Section 19 in particular ‘Stay put policy’, and in particular paragraphs 19.6 and 19.7, should be considered in the context of this additional and complementary guidance.

NFCC support the principle of a stay put strategy whenever possible, as it has been proved over many years to be safe for residents of purpose-built blocks of flats. This guidance provides fire safety advice in respect of purpose-built blocks of flats where a stay put strategy was part of the original design and is no longer considered appropriate owing to significant failings in the general fire precautions, and a temporary change to a simultaneous evacuation strategy is likely to be necessary until the failings have been rectified.

This guidance, which applies to premises in England and Wales, is produced to support the fire and rescue service (FRS), building owners/responsible persons and associated fire safety specialists, including fire risk assessors, at buildings that have been fitted with an external wall system that has failed the large scale tests that were commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government following the Grenfell Tower fire, and that were carried out at the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

Walking Watch Guidance/common fire alarm