Social landlords in Southampton urged to improve fire safety

Landlords of social housing developments in Southampton have been urged to improve fire safety measures at their properties after two firefighters died fighting a blaze at a tower block back in April 2010.

The incident which prompted the call for fire safety improvements took place at the Shirley Towers block in Southampton, when a fire broke out in the building. After becoming entangled in cables that had fallen from ceilings, an occurrence which was dangerous and should have been prevented by the building’s management, firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon tragically lost their lives.

Coroner Keith Wiseman is understood to have written to housing minister Mark Prisk, offering his recommendations for improvements to fire safety measures that all social landlords should be implementing. Mr Wiseman suggested that landlords should be required to:

  • Fit sprinkler systems in all tower block buildings above 30 metres tall
  • Provide better signage at ground level to help firefighters navigate corridors when buildings are filling with smoke

The coroner also called for building regulations to be adjusted to make it a requirement for clips and brackets holding cables in place to be resistant to fire.

Landlords can also help to improve fire safety at their properties by undertaking fire safety training courses, as well as learning more about how to carry out fire safety risk assessments.