For a start, there aren’t any blocks in Wandsworth that bear direct comparison with Lakanal House, the scene of the Camberwell fire. Although there are some blocks with a similar, ‘barrier’, design none are more than ten floors high and only one has a single staircase, but this does have an open access balcony and private balconies to the rear. If there were a fire in the tallest of these blocks the Fire Brigade able to get a ladder to the top.
The council also undertake a number of tests and inspections to make sure our blocks are safe. For example dry risers get checked weekly and a full, wet, test every year and risks and blockages in communal areas are checked and removed daily. New tenants get smoke alarms and existing tenants can get new ones installed for free on request – the housing department are working with the Fire Brigade to target properties where they have no record of an alarm being fitted.
Risk can never be fully removed, but Wandsworth’s housing department is doing some excellent work in making sure it’s reduced as far as possible.