Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has concluded and, in the closing statements, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) gave a series of recommendations. The FBU has requested a review of Fire Service procedures and training to plan for residents of all high-rise buildings to be rescued in the event that the ‘stay put’ scenario becomes unworkable.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “Before the fire started and any firefighter arrived, Grenfell Tower had been stripped of all its basic fire safety measures, yet we have not even started to examine how that situation was allowed to happen. We’ve said from the beginning that it’s ill-judged that the Inquiry started by looking at the night of the fire rather than the decisions which led up to it.”
Wrack continued: “The terrible fire at Grenfell Tower wasn’t planned for because it simply wasn’t meant to happen. Without advance planning, and the training to embed that planning, firefighters and control staff were placed in an utterly impossible position.”
The FBU is calling for significant research and large-scale exercises to test and revise evacuation procedures.
The Trade Union has called for a change in procedures and training for firefighters to include how to identify serious breaches of compartmentation and the viability of ‘stay put’ when a fire has spread to multiple areas (or there’s a real risk that it will do so).
Building owners are also asked to help residents understand the strategy and work with local agencies to access the safety of high-rise buildings.
Wrack went on to state: “This is clearly not just a London issue. We’re calling for a national review and for national planning for evacuation in some circumstances. Such planning could then be applied locally for every high-rise residential building across the UK.”
In conclusion, Wrack commented: “We must make our buildings safer. It’s utterly disgraceful that, in the 21st Century, we are seemingly allowing people to live in unsafe environments.”