Fire safety advice

From Tower Hamlets Homes

We thought it would be useful and timely to share some information with you regarding a recent spate of fires that have occurred both London wide and locally in Tower Hamlets.
The London Fire Brigade have recently advised us that there have been seven fires across London in the last three weeks started by discarded cigarette butts. We have recently had three fires in and around Tower Hamlets’ properties caused by accidental/avoidable circumstances (one was caused by a candle and the other two from discarded cigarettes, possibly thrown from a flat above and blown onto a balcony and shed below). With the the hot weather forecast to last at least for another month, I thought it was timely I contacted you to ask for your help to keep residents alert to fire safety in the home and hopefully avoid further fires occurring.
The following advice is from the London Fire Brigade and reflects the causes of fires occurring recently in London:
 make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home
 keep balconies free from clutter
 please don’t leave rubbish or bikes in communal areas or obstruct escape routes
 make sure you are familiar with your building and know your nearest exit in case you need to leave the building (note that your block is a ‘Stay Put’ block and therefore doesn’t have sounding fire alarms)
 if you are a smoker please do not smoke in common areas of the block as this is dangerous and against the law too
 always fully extinguish cigarettes smoked in your home and dispose of them carefully and safely*
Detailed fire safety advice is available at including videos on fire safety which I’d be happy to make available to be shown at TRA meetings.
Next week we will be writing to all THH residents with this advice. We’ll also be reminding them about smoke alarms.
 If they are a THH tenant and you do not have a smoke alarm please order one at or call our Housing Service Centre on 020 7364 5015.
 If they are a leaseholder, we strongly encourage you to fit smoke alarms. If they rent their property out, they must follow safety regulations which include gas and electrical tests, fitting smoke alarms and following all fire safety regulations. More information can be found at And alerting them to the LFB providing free smoke detectors.

* Putting cigarette butts into dried out flower pots without extinguishing them can cause a fire that can spread to neighbouring properties.

Also recommend not to have barbeques on balconies.


THH safety assurance

Following the tragic and shocking events at the Grenfell Tower block, which prompted some residents to post on Facebook how concerned they are for our safety, Tower Hamlets Homes has posted letters of assurance through letter boxes yesterday.

In our block all tenanted flats and houses have wired in fire alarms. Also residents can additionally install personal fire alarms in their rooms.

Free Fire brigade safety checks can be booked by phoning 0800 028 44 28, you will get a free fire alarm installed by the Fire Brigade.

People are advised to NOT have bulky inflammable goods stored on their balconies and keep all public walkways and areas free of rubble.

Caretakers constantly monitor the estates for safety. Here at Rosebery caretakers have moved away external rubbish and recycling bins from the building.

Breeze blocks

I think breeze blocks in kitchens are very important, both at the top and bottom of an outside wall, as they can prevent a build up of gas.

Most flats in the estate have gas supplies and even though most modern appliances have all sorts of safety measures built in, the breeze blocks still give a steady flow of air around our kitchens.

In some ground floor flats broken breeze blocks allowed pests into flats. I have noticed that most bottom breeze blocks in ground floor flats in Rosebery House have been made much smaller; also top breeze blocks were covered with kitchen cupboards; but will meet with a building inspector today to discuss the issue further.

Each resident should check whether their breeze blocks allow the air venting in their kitchens. In many cases the bottom breeze blocks vent the area behind the kitchen wall where gas cookers are located.

Annual Residents’ Question Time on ASB

On 3 November 2010, Tower Hamlets Council will host the 2nd annual Residents’ Question Time with a focus on Anti Social Behaviour (ASB).

Guest Speakers include Richard Taylor, father of the late Damilola Taylor and Jim Webster (Met. Police Commander for North East London). This promises a strong focus on youth on youth violence but also includes senior officers from the police, council and fire services.

The Question and Answer session can include all types of anti-social behaviour, as it occurs to you. The session will take place at the Whitechapel Idea Store and offers Creche places. You must however confirm your place at the earliest opportunity as places go quick and the last session saw people actually turned away. To book a place please either ring or e-mail Mohammed Raja. Phone 020 7364 6108.

The time will be 5.30pm – 8.30pm at the Whitechapel Idea Store which i s outside of Sainsbury’s on 3/11/10. The event provides refreshments, performances, quiz and prized and a crèche.

Latest housing and SNT news

I am quite impressed by the latest Tower Hamlets Homes newsletter, as it is simply, well laid out and informative. Good to get to know the housing officers for our area. I feel that the customer service at 1 Rushmead is quite good now, but have personally little experience with ringing them.

Great improvement to put the monthly estate inspections on the newsletter so that people can get an e-mail when the officers will arrive to do it, yet only about 15% of Tower Hamlets residents do have a computer but it improves on only the display box information because many of us do not have a display box where we live.

I had enquired about the promised communal areal over a period of months and I am most pleased to read that they have been promised with even a deadline of 2012, hopefully just in time for the Olympics.

I had also argued that sheds would improve the situation for bicycle owners who are not allowed to store the cycles in staircases but have not enough room to bring them into the flats. So many get stolen because of lack of storage and tha t increases the workload for our police who have to make increased efforts to curb the black market that exists for stolen bicycles in the area. I am still hopeful though, because the new sheds with the black doors bear very well and also look good.

Everybody I have spoken to is happy with the new front doors, those are only available for tenants and are the latest in chic and safety. I personally think these doors are more helpful than entry door systems, that don’t really keep those out who want to gain entry into a block, as there is always somebody who open the door for people.

The police had paid special attention to drug dealing around Parkview estate and carried out a number of arrests and even prosecutions.

What remains to be talked about are the arrears for the Old Ford Road neighbourhood which is 50.338 : 634.032. Amazingly the 50.338 is the rent arrears figure whilst leaseholders owe a staggering 634.032. Quite rightly something has to be done to help leaseholders pay those arrears as it may affect the quality of our lives if arrears stop improvement works. I understand that friendly payment plans are on offer or will be on offer shortly.

It is remarkable that a new administrative area has been created as Old Ford Neighbourhood, which is not within the boundaries of the usual Councillor’s patches.

To the forthcoming festival season, the council  has negotiated free tickets for Victoria Park residents, which is good for the young when they can get in for free, yet for those that like the park for its tranquility, they are not so pleased because they cannot find any remedy to escape from the noise.