Fire Brigades Union offers recommendations in wake of Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in West London took place in June 2017

The devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in West London took place in June 2017

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.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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