The following is taken from the current Health & Security Matters blog. This I believe is the response that should be quoted to all those asking for Dany Cottons resignation -
"Since the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, London Fire Brigade has been leading the call for ministers to step up and implement key changes to building regulations to prevent future disasters.
This includes reviewing fire safety in residential buildings and calling for Government changes to building regulations, including a complete ban of combustible cladding and a change for sprinklers to be fitted in a much wider range of buildings such as purpose-built blocks of flats.
A fundamental issue since the tragedy at Grenfell has been the ‘stay put’ strategy used to inform the operational tactics of fire and rescue services across the UK in buildings where it is assumed the design and construction will stop fire spreading.
Buildings designed to have a ‘stay put’ strategy, which included Grenfell Tower, are not designed and built to facilitate mass emergency evacuation during a fire – many, for example, have a narrow staircase and no common alarm system. New research is now needed into what the public and firefighters should do when a building fails.
Since the fire, the Brigade has taken steps to provide guidance for its firefighters in the event of a building’s fire safety measures failing, which includes putting in place interim advice for incident commanders to assist an emergency evacuation or mass rescue operation in the event of rapid or abnormal fire spread. However, there are considerable challenges in any change from the stay put strategy, which is why the Brigade are calling for urgent research.
Details of how lessons are being learnt and all the actions taken by the Brigade are contained in a progress report published and discussed today by the London Assembly's Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning committee.
• Internal learning and improvement – The Brigade established the dedicated Grenfell Tower Investigation and Review Team (GTIRT), led by Assistant Commissioner Andy Bell, which is undertaking comprehensive evaluation to identify further lessons to be learnt and to ensure they are implemented.
• Pre-Determined Attendance – The standard response to a high-rise fire was changed in 2017 to five fire engines and an aerial appliance following the fire. Where the Brigade receives multiple calls and cladding fire has been reported, this increases to 10 fire engines and an aerial appliance.
• New firefighting equipment – New fire escape hoods are being used to protect residents from toxic smoke, drones to provide an aerial view of incidents, new extended height aerial appliances with turntable ladders of up to 64 metres, and Urban Search and Rescue WASP devices (Warning Alarm for Stability Protection) for structural monitoring of buildings.
• Training – Incident command training has been enhanced, with all officers requiring Level 1 and Level 2 incident command training by the end of 2019/20. There will also be incident command revalidation courses, which must be undertaken every two years.
• Control improvements – The Brigade has restructured the management of its 999 control room and Control staff have undertaken Fire Survival Guidance refresher training.
• Information gathering – The Brigade is overhauling the way it gathers, records and shares operational risk information across the Brigade. This work has included firefighters ensuring that electronic information plates are available for more than 2,300 high rise premises and the Brigade’s Fire Safety Inspecting Officers conducting 1,238 visits to buildings with identified risks.
London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton said: "I want the public and especially the Grenfell Tower community to know everything we are doing to learn from that night and to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.
“It was the single largest residential building fire London Fire Brigade has ever fought and the building should have protected the people that lived there in the way it was supposed to.
“That is not what happened and we will always remember the 72 lives lost and the bereaved, the survivors and the impact it continues to have on the local community.
"Fire spread the entire height of Grenfell Tower in less than 30 minutes. Residents and fire-fighters were placed in impossible conditions we had never experienced before. That is why I am calling for the Government to reverse more than 20 years of neglect in relation to fire safety and to undertake urgent research on ‘buildings that fail’, which means ‘stay put’ advice is no longer viable in those buildings.
"Since 2014, there have been more than 5,000 high rise fires in London alone and in the vast majority of these incidents ‘stay put’ advice has been effective. It’s very important for people to know that.
“It is completely understandable that stay put advice has been questioned, but we are talking about buildings that fail, rather than advice that fails and there is no clear alternative, which is why this research is needed.”
Thank you to Leslie Reid for sharing (ex-Navy fire fighter)
Julie Williams his cousin / my friend for alerting me.
"Even firefighters in their protective gear struggled.."
13 June 2018
Tony Sullivan, explaining the bigger picture, talks about widespread systemic problems in the testing regime,building regulations, fire safety, and building control. He also helps us to understand the "stay put" policy.
"In fact, the “stay put” policy is the only thing that can work routinely in a residential high-rise building, and here is why.
The building is designed to contain fire in each individual flat and for the stairways especially to remain clear of smoke and heat. This is why it is vital all doors are fire doors and closed in the event of fire (which also means working door closers and smoke seals on all doors are essential).
If everyone were to evacuate around the same time, opening doors as they did so, this would immediately compromise the fire safety of the building. Aside from all the crush injuries, if all residents opened all their doors and the doors to the stairwell at the same time, heat and smoke would intrude into the only escape route. This could create a chimney effect, spreading fire, and result in loss of life. Quite simply, moving away from a “stay put” policy will kill people."
"The narrative that this is all the fault of one council, government, manufacturer or contractor is wrong. This doesn’t mean people or organisations aren’t guilty of negligence or worse over Grenfell. It just means that the issue is much bigger than even this terrible incident. It involves hundreds of buildings, across scores of councils and several governments over 20 years. It is a systemic problem with building regulations, fire safety legislation, testing of materials, maintenance of blocks and enforcement agencies. The problem, however, is much bigger and won’t be resolved by sending someone to jail, even if that is appropriate."
Click on image for original article and video.
Andrew O'Hagan -The Tower
Article is taken from the 7 June 2018 issue of the London Review of Books. It's an astonishing piece of writing and video of some 40,000 to 50,000 words, Andrew is telling the stories of the survivors of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy that shook the not only the UK, but the world.
Grenfell Tower was a social housing experiment, this building was at one time a jewel in it's neighborhood, but botched refurbishment and neglect over many years led to it being consumed by fire. How could this happen in a modern Britain?
Click the photo above for the long article.
Grenfell: The End of an Experiment?
Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, Anthony Wilks investigates the culture of Kensington and Chelsea Council and where it came from. The film accompanies a written piece about Grenfell and its aftermath by Andrew O'Hagan for the London Review of Books.
Click image to watch film. It's a compelling watch, weaving the stories of the different impoverished communities among them the groups from Empire Windrush brought one of the first large groups of postwar West Indian immigrants to the United Kingdom, carrying 1,027 passengers and two stowaways on a voyage from Jamaica to London in 1948. 802 of these passengers gave their last country of residence as somewhere in the Caribbean: of these, 693 intended to settle in the United Kingdom.
I became aware the article after hearing a BBC Radio 4 show Saturday Review where the panel were chatting about 'The Accident" a new TV show and it's reference and context to Grenfell Tower and other tragic events over some years in the UK.
Click the image to listen to BBC sounds programme.