Firefighters team up with housing association for training exercise at tower block

The team who completed the training. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The team who completed the training. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters have completed a training exercise at a high rise block of flats to practice emergency procedures should a fire break out.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service teamed up with Wakefield District Housing (WDH) for the training day at Luke Williams House in Pontefract on Monday.

The lift training. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The lift training. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The exercise, which came six weeks after at least 80 people were killed when a fire broke out at London's Grenfell Tower flats, focused on operating lifts in an emergency and freeing people who may be trapped inside.

The fire service said residents should never use a lift to evacuate a building in the event of a fire, and instead use the stairs.

But in controlled circumstances, firefighters can take over the lift system to take themselves or their equipment to other parts of the building to help them tackle a blaze.

Assistant district commander for Wakefield John Lloyd said: “The safety of the local community is a priority for the fire service and our partnership with WDH over the years has helped us to promote fire safety in the home to their residents.

Fire service training exercise. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire service training exercise. Picture courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

“Taking part in exercises like this one means that the fire service is familiar with the building and its lift operating systems.

“We would always encourage residents to be informed about their building’s evacuation procedure and never use a lift in the event of a fire.”

WDH manages 12 high rise blocks across the district. The fire service said the organisations work closely on fire safety and make regular inspections of all high rise properties.

It said no problems had been identified following the Grenfell tragedy.

The high rise building where the training was carried out. Pictures courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The high rise building where the training was carried out. Pictures courtesy of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Mick Walsh, director of housing at WDH said: “It’s important that fire officers know how to use our particular equipment in an emergency.

"This training session has helped everyone to ensure they are up to date with the very latest technology and techniques.

"We will continue to work in partnership with our colleagues at the fire service to make sure that our properties are safe and meet all the necessary fire safety requirements.”

The exercise was delivered by training experts TÜV SUD Dunbar Boardman on Monday.

A training and information package has also been developed by Watch Commander Steve Blezard to support firefighters who attend incidents in high rise properties to quickly and safely help residents.