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Waking Watches were introduced by the National Fire Chiefs Council as a temporary measure to keep residents safe and involve trained fire wardens being present on site 24/7 to monitor the building’s interior and exterior, raise an alarm in the event of a fire and assist in the safe evacuation of the residents.
Despite being a temporary measure, hundreds of buildings across the UK still have 24-hour Fire Warden patrols in place, costing thousands of pounds every month.
Which? the consumer rights organisation has investigated the massive growth of Waking Watch services being deployed in fire risk blocks.
They found leaseholders and homeowners have collectively been ‘forced to spend millions’ on the watches, equating to hundreds of pounds per month per flat owner, because buildings ‘are deemed unsafe’. The consumer group also note that Waking Watches ‘can be forced upon’ leaseholders in buildings with ‘potentially dangerous’ cladding and other fire safety defects.
The investigation concluded that many were ‘finding the costs too much to bear’ and were often ‘not even receiving a worthwhile service.’