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RayRapp  
#1 Posted : 30 October 2019 09:11:44(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I note the 'leaked' report of the Grenfell Tower fire has been circulated in the media. However, this part of the report focuses on the fire service response which is quite damning. I suspect many in the LFB will be a bit miffed that they have been so heavily criticised when the immediate cause of the fire was a domestic appliance and the main cause of the fire spreading was the recently installed cladding following a refurbishment.

It appears a further report will look into the cause of the fire and the building design. Not sure why the report did not include all aspects of the fire. Singling out just the LFB's response seems to be a bit harsh to me. Clearly the multi-causal sequence of events will eventually reveal the facts - a perfect storm.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50230188

Edited by user 30 October 2019 09:15:13(UTC)  | Reason: added link

thanks 4 users thanked RayRapp for this useful post.
George_Young on 30/10/2019(UTC), ttxela on 30/10/2019(UTC), mihai_qa on 30/10/2019(UTC), chris42 on 30/10/2019(UTC)
George_Young  
#2 Posted : 30 October 2019 09:17:10(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
George_Young

It is harsh, LFB was acting in a manner those though correct on the information those had at the time.

It's the ones who risk their own lives to save others I feel for. trying their very best, then get told basically its their fault all those people died

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ttxela on 30/10/2019(UTC)
CptBeaky  
#3 Posted : 30 October 2019 09:21:21(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

We will have to wait until we can se the full report, however..

I believe the issue was with telling people to stay indoors (as was their procedure). It turns out that they already had knowledge of a previous fire that had spread up external cladding, but had not changed their procedures to take this into account. That is not to say it is their fault, just on this basis. I am sure they will argue that they told the relevant people and it was stopped much higher up the chain.

The point being that if they had evacuated the building earlier more people may have been saved.

I am sure the construction company will take a huge amount of flack when that part of the report comes out. Early indications suggest that they knowingly substituted the fire proof clading they had quoted for a cheaper alternative to save money. Again, just speculation. (please don't sue me!)

thanks 2 users thanked CptBeaky for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 30/10/2019(UTC), chris42 on 30/10/2019(UTC)
O'Donnell54548  
#4 Posted : 30 October 2019 10:02:47(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
O'Donnell54548

Originally Posted by: George_Young Go to Quoted Post

It is harsh, LFB was acting in a manner those though correct on the information those had at the time.

It's the ones who risk their own lives to save others I feel for. trying their very best, then get told basically its their fault all those people died


To be fair the report praised the efforts of the fire fighters at the scene, their criticism focused on senior management and in particular the leader of the LFB. 

thanks 3 users thanked O'Donnell54548 for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 30/10/2019(UTC), chris42 on 30/10/2019(UTC), MikeKelly on 06/11/2019(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#5 Posted : 30 October 2019 10:52:22(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Essentially from what I know about this interim report the LFB failings were:

  • The LFB control room could not cope with the number of calls coming in on the night of the tragedy. These is a suggestion that there had been cutbacks in “backroom staffing”
  • As result of this they did not realise that this was major incident and did not commit sufficient resources quickly enough
  • A relatively junior officer was left in charge of the operation and they did not have enough authority
  • The fire fighters on the scene were not trained to deal with a fire spreading on the outside of the building. The training was based on dealing with fire inside the building.
  • The fire fighters on the scene stuck to the “stay put” policy based on the local fire risk assessment for longer than was credible.  Of the 300 or so people in the building at the start of the fire more than half got out on their own initiative. By the time the order was given to evacuate everybody else it was too late for many.
  • The inquiry chairman was not impressed with the LFB Chief’s assertion that even with hindsight she would not have done anything different. It seems to indicate an unwillingness to learn.  

 

craigroberts76  
#6 Posted : 30 October 2019 10:53:54(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
craigroberts76

Originally Posted by: CptBeaky Go to Quoted Post

It turns out that they already had knowledge of a previous fire that had spread up external cladding, but had not changed their procedures to take this into account.


They probably were unaware if it was the same cladding in use, and tbh the fire spread to the top within about 13 mins, fire crews probably took 5-10 mins to arrive.

I feel they are being made scape goats and there hasnt been much in the media about the owners, contractors or suppliers.  Is the full report available today?

A Kurdziel  
#7 Posted : 30 October 2019 10:58:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

This report deals with the emergency services response. The part dealing with the construction and management of the building will be out some time next year.  There is also an separate  ongoing inquiry  into possible criminal charges against the owners of the building and the building management company

CptBeaky  
#8 Posted : 30 October 2019 11:09:12(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: craigroberts76 Go to Quoted Post

They probably were unaware if it was the same cladding in use, and tbh the fire spread to the top within about 13 mins, fire crews probably took 5-10 mins to arrive.

I feel they are being made scape goats and there hasnt been much in the media about the owners, contractors or suppliers.  Is the full report available today?


They told they people to stay inside for around 2 hours, despite it being very obvious that the cladding was burning. They followed their procedures, but the procedures were wrong. This isn't about blame, it is about ensuring it doesn't happen again.

If the Fire Service is above critisism then how can they improve? This in no way plays down what they do/did. They are all heroes for running towards danger instead of away from it. However we must not let that hero statement stand in the way of progress. If there is something they can/should do better, are we better to acknowledge that, rather than let people's lives be endangered through concerns of causing offense?

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Ishmael Phakati on 31/10/2019(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#9 Posted : 30 October 2019 11:19:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Many fire compartmentalised concrete tower blocks operate(d) a stay put policy in consequence of their original design & build risk assessment.

Many concrete tower blocks subsequently had various cladding systems applied to improve the energy efficiency and/or aesthetic.

In a generalisation any significant change to a structure or its use should be accompanied by a review of the existing Fire Risk Assessment.

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A Kurdziel on 30/10/2019(UTC)
andybz  
#10 Posted : 30 October 2019 12:21:01(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
andybz

One of the things we learnt from Piper Alpha 31 years ago is that emergency procedures cannot cover every situation, particularly when things get out of control. At Piper Alpha the people who survived were mainly the people who realised this and did their own thing (they broke the rules). I had always hoped that the emergency services had a better understanding of these types of issues and prepared their staff better. The report issued today suggests this is not the case.

One of things that struck me from the findings of the July 7th London bombings 14 years ago was that the emergency services did not coordinate their actions to the point that they all declared major emergencies at different times and did not tell the others. The report issued today suggests that exactly the same happened again in this case. This, to me, is a very clear indication of fundamental issues and poor learning from experience.

It will help no one if the London Fire Brigade, unions, politicians or other groups become defensive about the issues raised. Luckily events of this scale happen relatively infrequently so we need to learn as much as we can when they do. And we can all learn from this. Don't assume that because this was an issue with a residential tower block that there is nothing here for you. The same fundamental issues apply across all industries and settings.

craigroberts76  
#11 Posted : 30 October 2019 12:21:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
craigroberts76

look up beechmere in Crewe where I live, residential home for the elderly, wooden structure, no concrete compartments, no sprinkler system and yet they also had a stay put when it burnt down 2 months ago, luckily a local resident told the fire chief where he could put his stay put and went to get his nan out, then they decided to evacuate everyone.  150 rescued and no injuries or deaths,

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webstar on 30/10/2019(UTC)
RayRapp  
#12 Posted : 30 October 2019 15:25:05(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Thanks for all your comments. I should have mentioned in my original posting the criticism was not aimed at the fire fighters on the ground, but rather the senior management and command and control. I don't think the LFB Chief Fire Officer did herself or the LFB any favours with her responses in the inquiry. Indeed I think she could have been a bit more contrite and still defend some of the decisions.

The 'stay put' policy for residential blocks is a common policy and it is very rare a block has to be evacuated due to fire. Most blocks have fire controls such as compartmentalisation for up to 60 minutes which allows the fire fighters enough time to contain or put out the fire. Obviously this was not the case with Grenfell Tower. However, it should also be noted the stay put policy is designed to prevent residents from blocking stairwells and exit routes whilst fire fighters are going about their business. Some residents will be elderly or infirm, which can exacerbate the escape process with the lifts also disabled.

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Smudger207 on 08/11/2019(UTC)
Messey  
#13 Posted : 30 October 2019 19:14:07(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Messey

You would never guess but the recommendations were spilt:

12 for high rise building owners

12 for the LFB

8 for all UK fire services

Yet the LFB get the bad press. It sells papers I suppose

BTW, the 'Stay Put' strategy is NOT a fire service procedure, but one orginationing from the 1960s CP building control process

A PARAPHRASED SUMMARY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF 

PHASE 1

4) KNOWLEDGE OF MATERIALS IN HIGH RISE BUILDINGS

The owner & manager of every high rise premises, by law provide information to their local fire & rescue service in relation to design and materials used in external walls

Fire services ensure staff at all levels are able to understand & recognise risks with fires in external walls of such premises

5) 7(2)D VISITS (familiarisation) 

LFB review 72d arrangements 

LFB train crew managers to inspect high rise buildings in respect of the 72d (was 1id)

6)PLANS

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, provide plans to the local fire & rescue service

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, install premises information boxes for plans

7)LIFTS

Owner and manager of high rise presumes, by law, carry out regular inspections of firefighting lifts and report findings to the fire service on a monthly basis.

Owner and manager of high rise presumes, by law, carry out checks regular checks of firefighting lift switching mechanism and report findings to the fire service on a monthly basis

8) COMMS BETWEEN CONTROL ROOM AND FIREGROUND

LFB to review policies on comms between control room and Incident Manager 

LFB to ensure all above CM receive training in communicating with control room

LFB to ensure Control Room Officers above Ass Ops Manager rank receive training in communication with Incident Manager 

9) EMERGENCY CALLS

LFB policy be amended to separate callers into those trapped & those seeking advice

LFB to train CROs more effectively and regularly 

All fire services draw up plans to deal with large number of simultaneous fire survival calls 

All fire services develop systems to display fire survival calls at the control room & bridgehead

All fire services develop policies to manage a transition from ‘stay put’ to ‘get out’ (sic)

All fire services train control room staff to communicate a change of advice to callers

All fire services investigate measures to allow other control rooms taking calls to access appropriate information about the incident

Met Pol, LAS and LFB to improve protocols to ensure identical advice is given to callers

10) COMMAND & CONTROL

LFB to develop procedures to better control deployments and use of resources 

LFB to develop better procedures to debrief crews returning from deployment which enables such information to be made available to the Incident Manager.

LFB to develop better comms between the control room and Incident Manager - and the Bridgehead and Incident Manager 

11) EQUIPMENT

LFB to develop better comms between firefighters and Bridgehead in high rise incidents

12) EVACUATION

HM Govt to produce guidelines on carrying out evacuation of high rises, including disabled persons 

All fire services to develop plans for evacuating high rise residential buildings & train their staff to do so

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, draw up emergency plans and supplies those plans to fire service and in premises info boxes

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, prepare PEEPs (for disabled residents)

All fire & rescue service carry smoke hoods

15) INTERNAL SIGNAGE

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, clearly mark the floor number on landings on every floor

Owner and manager of any resident building with separate dwellings (of any size), by law, provide evacuation instructions in a manner the resident can understand 

16) FIRE DOORS

Owner and manager of high rise premises containing separate dwellings (whether high rise or not) urgently inspect their fire doors to ensure their compliance

Owner and manager of high rise premises containing separate dwellings (whether high rise or not), by law, to inspect fire doors and self closers to ensure compliance and in good condition 

Those whatever capacity who have responsibility for entrance doors to flats in buildings fitted with unsafe cladding, be required by law to ensure doors are compliant 

17) COOPERATION BETWEEN 999 SERVICES

Various recommendations for all 999 services to coordinate better

LFB to investigate systems so that they can see the Mets and LAS’s CAD logs

Steps be taken to ensure LFB and NPAS (National Police Air Service)  helicopters use the same encryption systems to allow LFB to view NPAS heli- link  (the Inquiry fails to allocate this action to any group)

Met and LFB to liaise to investigate improvement on casualty clearing and collection of information about survivors 

thanks 3 users thanked Messey for this useful post.
O'Donnell54548 on 31/10/2019(UTC), CptBeaky on 31/10/2019(UTC), A Kurdziel on 31/10/2019(UTC)
RayRapp  
#14 Posted : 30 October 2019 20:41:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Thanks Messey, I know from previous threads you are very erudite in this particular field.

The list of recommendations do beg a lot of serious questions. Indeed, why some of these recommendations were not already in place prior to the Grenfell fire is staggering. After all, many of them are not exactly rocket science - just saying. 

O'Donnell54548  
#15 Posted : 31 October 2019 07:26:58(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
O'Donnell54548

Originally Posted by: craigroberts76 Go to Quoted Post

look up beechmere in Crewe where I live, residential home for the elderly, wooden structure, no concrete compartments, no sprinkler system and yet they also had a stay put when it burnt down 2 months ago, luckily a local resident told the fire chief where he could put his stay put and went to get his nan out, then they decided to evacuate everyone.  150 rescued and no injuries or deaths,

Interesting that the on-line BBC report states:

The incident commander chose to override a "stay put" policy at the premises, which would have required residents to remain in their apartments and be evacuated on a phased basis.

Lee Shears, head of protection with the fire service, said: "It's clear that the fire wasn't behaving in the way that we would expect, and I must praise his swift and decisive actions in ordering the immediate evacuation of residents.

"His decision undoubtedly saved lives."

firesafety101  
#16 Posted : 01 November 2019 20:01:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Originally Posted by: Messey Go to Quoted Post

You would never guess but the recommendations were spilt:

12 for high rise building owners

12 for the LFB

8 for all UK fire services

Yet the LFB get the bad press. It sells papers I suppose

BTW, the 'Stay Put' strategy is NOT a fire service procedure, but one orginationing from the 1960s CP building control process

A PARAPHRASED SUMMARY OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF 

PHASE 1

4) KNOWLEDGE OF MATERIALS IN HIGH RISE BUILDINGS

The owner & manager of every high rise premises, by law provide information to their local fire & rescue service in relation to design and materials used in external walls

Fire services ensure staff at all levels are able to understand & recognise risks with fires in external walls of such premises

5) 7(2)D VISITS (familiarisation) 

LFB review 72d arrangements 

LFB train crew managers to inspect high rise buildings in respect of the 72d (was 1id)

6)PLANS

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, provide plans to the local fire & rescue service

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, install premises information boxes for plans

7)LIFTS

Owner and manager of high rise presumes, by law, carry out regular inspections of firefighting lifts and report findings to the fire service on a monthly basis.

Owner and manager of high rise presumes, by law, carry out checks regular checks of firefighting lift switching mechanism and report findings to the fire service on a monthly basis

8) COMMS BETWEEN CONTROL ROOM AND FIREGROUND

LFB to review policies on comms between control room and Incident Manager 

LFB to ensure all above CM receive training in communicating with control room

LFB to ensure Control Room Officers above Ass Ops Manager rank receive training in communication with Incident Manager 

9) EMERGENCY CALLS

LFB policy be amended to separate callers into those trapped & those seeking advice

LFB to train CROs more effectively and regularly 

All fire services draw up plans to deal with large number of simultaneous fire survival calls 

All fire services develop systems to display fire survival calls at the control room & bridgehead

All fire services develop policies to manage a transition from ‘stay put’ to ‘get out’ (sic)

All fire services train control room staff to communicate a change of advice to callers

All fire services investigate measures to allow other control rooms taking calls to access appropriate information about the incident

Met Pol, LAS and LFB to improve protocols to ensure identical advice is given to callers

10) COMMAND & CONTROL

LFB to develop procedures to better control deployments and use of resources 

LFB to develop better procedures to debrief crews returning from deployment which enables such information to be made available to the Incident Manager.

LFB to develop better comms between the control room and Incident Manager - and the Bridgehead and Incident Manager 

11) EQUIPMENT

LFB to develop better comms between firefighters and Bridgehead in high rise incidents

12) EVACUATION

HM Govt to produce guidelines on carrying out evacuation of high rises, including disabled persons 

All fire services to develop plans for evacuating high rise residential buildings & train their staff to do so

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, draw up emergency plans and supplies those plans to fire service and in premises info boxes

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, prepare PEEPs (for disabled residents)

All fire & rescue service carry smoke hoods

15) INTERNAL SIGNAGE

Owner and manager of high rise premises, by law, clearly mark the floor number on landings on every floor

Owner and manager of any resident building with separate dwellings (of any size), by law, provide evacuation instructions in a manner the resident can understand 

16) FIRE DOORS

Owner and manager of high rise premises containing separate dwellings (whether high rise or not) urgently inspect their fire doors to ensure their compliance

Owner and manager of high rise premises containing separate dwellings (whether high rise or not), by law, to inspect fire doors and self closers to ensure compliance and in good condition 

Those whatever capacity who have responsibility for entrance doors to flats in buildings fitted with unsafe cladding, be required by law to ensure doors are compliant 

17) COOPERATION BETWEEN 999 SERVICES

Various recommendations for all 999 services to coordinate better

LFB to investigate systems so that they can see the Mets and LAS’s CAD logs

Steps be taken to ensure LFB and NPAS (National Police Air Service)  helicopters use the same encryption systems to allow LFB to view NPAS heli- link  (the Inquiry fails to allocate this action to any group)

Met and LFB to liaise to investigate improvement on casualty clearing and collection of information about survivors 

Hi Messey. long time no communicate.

Has the Grenfell Tower had a Fire Lift installed.  I had not heard that mentioned in any conversation before your mention now.  You will know there are certain criteria for a lift to be named a Fire Lift.  Wonder why the firefighters were struggling up and down the single stairway if there was a Fire Lift.

Not sure if anyone has considered the potential for problems with a mass evacuation of Grenfell Tower during that fire.  Just think about all residents present opening their front doors at the same time, then the fire doors to the staircase at the same time, and the smoke and heat that would enter the stairway which has become a chimney for the hot gases to rise up to the top and mushroom down.

Then all or most of those people attempting to descend the stairs in smoke, heat then darkness, stumbling, falling down, losing a grip on a child or other loved one then having to stop and search for them while others descending from behind attempt to get past.  Persons evacuating have spoken about walking over bodies on the stairs.

Then the firefighters climbing the stairs wearing BA and carrying equipment such as Hoses, lines (ropes), breaking in equipment (crowbars, large axes, lump hammer etc.), spare compressed air cylinders,  firefighters then descending carrying or dragging rescued persons who are heavy, struggling to breathe so the firefighter stops to share his/her BA facemask to get the person breathing fresh compressed air.

Does everyone know the firefighters in attendance were told to write their name on their fire helmet to make it easier for identification if they should die.

They were also told by senior officers that the fire was unprecedented and rules would be broken, and they did not have to enter the building if they did not want to.  Not one of them refused to carry on the rescue attempts.

thanks 1 user thanked firesafety101 for this useful post.
Smudger207 on 08/11/2019(UTC)
Messey  
#17 Posted : 01 November 2019 20:54:03(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Messey

I knew the building fairly well (or the pre refurbished Grenfell) as it was on my ground for 10 years when I was stationed at the local fire station

It has a firefighting lift and the first crews in tried to operate it. From the report, it seems to be an Express drop down lift key that was used but it failed to call the lift or switch it to firefighting mode. The lift was used by some crews, but when in 'passenger' mode. I believe it was abandoned when the job got going too well.

My view is that 'Stay Put' works well when a fire orginates or is contained to a limited number of dwellings. The fire resisting construction of individual residential units will hold the fire to the flat of origin - ok with spread rarely upward via windows of flats above. The holding of the fire in one unit allows the fire service time to arrive and splash some wet stuff on the hot stuff and get home in time for tea and medals.  Therefore for 99% of dwelling fires, stay put is fine

I went to a fire at Grenfell years before which was out of the window(s). It left a scorch mark on the concrete for months before scaffolding was erected and repairs made. That of course was before some pillock wrapped it in plastic. Neighbouring blocks at the Edward Woods Estate had vented fires and a fire Trellick Towers (at 33 floors was the tallest council block in the UK save some awful blocks in Glasgow) lept up 3 floors before we got it - but this was flat-to-flat, so slower spread than a cladding job

To be fair, the LFB probably should have abandoned 'Stay Put' earlier than they did. It was clear the job wasnt contained to a limited number of units. But its all very easy with Daily Mail hindsight, but on the night this job redefines the word 'unprecedented'. But lets put some context on this - as the LFB rescued 65 persons over a 7 hour rescue period in the most challenging  environment imaginable. Thats 65 men women and children walking around today because of the LFB's superhuman efforts

The narrow staircase is now well known and overcrowding would have been an issue in a general evac was ordered. Plus how to you tell those trapped to try and leave? The LFB would have had some phone numbers, but very few tower blocks have a PA or any other communal alarm.  But notwithstanding these issues, an evac earlier would have been a good move

I have two grumbles about the report:

1) Phase 1 should have covered the construction project and associated areas. This would mean that now that the first phase on the inquiry has reported, work could now start on addressing the building regs and COPs that would prevent similar errors. It would also mean those 400 blocks waiting in limbo to see whether & how to deal with their dangerous ACM cladding could now get on with it

I wrote to the Inquiry months ago and asked why the response is being scrutinised first & not the build? They send a general templated reply which failed to answer my question. Its a tragedy the fire service part of the report has been published first, thereby delaying life changing amendments by 2+ years. 

2) The media - press, tv, radio and internet - have focused on one part of this report and have not mentioned the majority of the findings do not specifically apply to the London Fire Brigade. This is unhelpful but sells newspapers I suppose

Is the report a diversionary whitewash or a cock up? Leaving the building part alone is a bloody scandal and Moore-Bick will (IMO) have blood on his hands if we get another serious cladding fire whilst he fiddles about with frankly peripheral stuff which is not likely to save a single life

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firesafety101  
#18 Posted : 02 November 2019 12:26:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

"How do you tell those trapped to leave" is a very good question Messy.

You will no doubt be aware that fire alarms are not allowed inside tower blocks, not even individual flats.  The reason is that the blocks are designed to prevent fire spread from flat to flat and if a single fire alarm sounds every resident in the building may decide to evacuate, thus causing blocked stairway, potential for panic and injuries when people slip/trip and/or fall on their way down.

toe  
#19 Posted : 05 November 2019 23:48:24(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

"How do you tell those trapped to leave" is a very good question Messy.

You will no doubt be aware that fire alarms are not allowed inside tower blocks, not even individual flats.  The reason is that the blocks are designed to prevent fire spread from flat to flat and if a single fire alarm sounds every resident in the building may decide to evacuate, thus causing blocked stairway, potential for panic and injuries when people slip/trip and/or fall on their way down.

All domestic homes in Scotland by law will require smoke/heat detectors by 2021, including High Rise Buildings.

I have to dissagree with you rational and beleive that these will undoutfully save lives, especially in high rise buildings.

toe  
#20 Posted : 05 November 2019 23:53:08(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

All domestic homes in Scotland by law will require smoke/heat detectors by 2021, including High Rise Buildings.

I have to dissagree with you rational and beleive that these will undoutfully save lives, especially in high rise buildings.

Just to make my post clear, this requirement comes under the Housing (Scotland) Act and not specific Fire Safety Laws. It applies to all homes and home owners and is retrospective.

RayRapp  
#21 Posted : 06 November 2019 10:26:12(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Smoke/heat detectors are the norm in individual dwellings but not in communal areas within the block. The reason for this is because they would be too easy for vandals to activate or at least interfere with them and would would be more trouble than they are worth.

Natasha.Graham  
#22 Posted : 06 November 2019 12:04:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Natasha.Graham

Originally Posted by: RayRapp Go to Quoted Post

Smoke/heat detectors are the norm in individual dwellings but not in communal areas within the block. The reason for this is because they would be too easy for vandals to activate or at least interfere with them and would would be more trouble than they are worth.

I have first hand experience of this! I used to live in a 6th floor (out of 8 floors) flat - so not too high, until some delightful person decides to press a call point in the communal area or smoke in the bin store and set the alarms off at 2am, when you have an 18 month old asleep! 

The building manager's policy was to evacuate if you were able, but to be honest, our front doors were large 60 minute fire dooes so in the end most of us ignored the fire alarm and stayed put!! 

firesafety101  
#23 Posted : 06 November 2019 20:52:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Originally Posted by: toe Go to Quoted Post

All domestic homes in Scotland by law will require smoke/heat detectors by 2021, including High Rise Buildings.

I have to dissagree with you rational and beleive that these will undoutfully save lives, especially in high rise buildings.

Just to make my post clear, this requirement comes under the Housing (Scotland) Act and not specific Fire Safety Laws. It applies to all homes and home owners and is retrospective.

Your Scottish fire precautions will no doubt be very effective because the buildings will be built to current standards unlike Grenfell Tower.

I would be surprised if wet sprinkler syatems are not installed as well. 

toe  
#24 Posted : 06 November 2019 22:40:07(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: toe Go to Quoted Post

Your Scottish fire precautions will no doubt be very effective because the buildings will be built to current standards unlike Grenfell Tower.

I would be surprised if wet sprinkler syatems are not installed as well. 

You may have misssread my post. This applies to all domestic properties and not just newbuilds that are built to current standards.

There is no appetite to fit sprinklers in domestic or high rise building in Scotland at the moment.

toe  
#25 Posted : 06 November 2019 22:56:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
toe

Originally Posted by: RayRapp Go to Quoted Post

Smoke/heat detectors are the norm in individual dwellings but not in communal areas within the block. The reason for this is because they would be too easy for vandals to activate or at least interfere with them and would would be more trouble than they are worth.

There is some rational with this thinking, which is understandable. However, my view is that there should be automatic fire detection (not manual call points) in lobby areas and plant rooms of high-rise residential buildings. My view on this is that:

  1. there are often plant rooms, laundry rooms and resident’s storage areas (cages) in lobby areas. And sometimes central battery systems for the emergency lights that have lead acid batteries that can emit explosive hydrogen gases.
  2. most high-rise building have secure door entry systems and often CCTV installed.

Though, the question to be asked is; who should be alerted to the activation of the alarm in the lobby and what action should be taken and by whom. I have to add that in my experience in Scotland, fire stopping between floors in many of these buildings is often poor.

firesafety101  
#26 Posted : 07 November 2019 15:41:44(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

firesafety101  
#27 Posted : 07 November 2019 20:13:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

There may be one member/ex member of LFB sitting on a twitchy bum.  During the signing off process and before any refurbishment is carried out the list of responsible people who have to sign off and issue a certificate includes the Fire Officer for the FRS whose area the refurbishment will take place.

I have worked as CDM Consultant for a firm of architects and one of my roles was to write and issue the Pre Construction Plan.  The information gained for this includes drawings and details of the project.  Certificates required include the fire officer's and Building Control.

One of my projects was a refit of a store and installation of a mezzanine floor with stairway and passenger lift inside the store and a fire exit at the rear that led directly to outside the building.  The agreed fire exit consisted of a hole in the rear wall and a Spiral Staircase leading from the first floor to the ground.

As was my duty to review the documents I realised that the spiral staircase will not be suitable for everyone as the mezzaning floor was to be accessed by young and old, people with prams/pushchairs, disabled persons and pets including dogs of all sizes and other animals that may be walking or carried.  The mezzanine was built for a Veterinary practice above a pet store.  Spiral staircases are not recommended for use as fire exits.

I informed my views about the spiral staircase to the top architect and he told me it had been signed off by Building Control.  I repeated my concerns and explained about the type of person who may need to use the exit, including their animals but he told me in no uncertain terms the Fire Officer had approved and signed the certificate.

That is where I left the argument and still have copies of our email conversation.

I wonder if a similar conversation was had between fire officer and designer/building management for Grenfell Tower or did the fire officer simply sign and issue the certificate without looking into the type of cladding and its properties and potential for burning.  Perhaps the fire officer was given incorrect details about the cladding as there is more than one similar type, one burns and the other doesn't.

We will probably find out during the second stage.

RayRapp  
#28 Posted : 07 November 2019 21:38:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

firesafety101 makes some good points. However, I think many us are aware that Building Control and part B Building Regulations are weak, fire safety legislation is inadequate and fire risk assessments can be problematical.

All these matters will hopefully be addressed with recomendations in the second phase of the enquiry. That said, I am concerned that after all this time there are still high rise blocks that have cladding which does not conform to current safety standards. They say the wheels of industry turn very slowly, but not nearly as slow as enquiries and subsequent legislation.

CptBeaky  
#29 Posted : 08 November 2019 09:06:09(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
CptBeaky

Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

Perhaps the fire officer was given incorrect details about the cladding as there is more than one similar type, one burns and the other doesn't.


My understanding (which will be confirmed at the second stage) is that they used an alternative, cheaper, cladding than what was in the design. Whether this was done with the client's knowledge or not will be interesting.

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chris42 on 08/11/2019(UTC)
RayRapp  
#30 Posted : 08 November 2019 10:28:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Originally Posted by: CptBeaky Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: firesafety101 Go to Quoted Post

Perhaps the fire officer was given incorrect details about the cladding as there is more than one similar type, one burns and the other doesn't.


My understanding (which will be confirmed at the second stage) is that they used an alternative, cheaper, cladding than what was in the design. Whether this was done with the client's knowledge or not will be interesting.

I would be very surprised if the client was not aware, or even condoned it. However, the real question is whether the client was aware the alternative cladding was not fire resistant.  

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Roundtuit  
#31 Posted : 08 November 2019 23:02:54(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

I think it appropriate to mention that this is only the first of several Investigations.

Our forums, and in particular this public one, are meant to avoid speculation particularly where there is an on-going enquiry or potential prosecution.
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toe on 13/11/2019(UTC)
RayRapp  
#32 Posted : 09 November 2019 07:59:46(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post
I think it appropriate to mention that this is only the first of several Investigations.

Our forums, and in particular this public one, are meant to avoid speculation particularly where there is an on-going enquiry or potential prosecution.

I don't think there is any more speculation on this forum than in the media in general. In any case, sub judice only applies to legal proceedings and not a public enquiry.

Roundtuit  
#33 Posted : 09 November 2019 12:09:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

The police have conducted interviews under caution.

The relatives are hoping to see persons in the dock.

Yes this may be one public enquiry, unfortunately it is not the end of the whole processes.

RayRapp  
#34 Posted : 09 November 2019 17:32:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Indeed there might be prosecutions to follow - crystal ball I do not have. That said, I rather suspect some people are going to be very disappointed.

Messey  
#35 Posted : 09 November 2019 19:46:43(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Messey

We must not stay silent with our views which fall outside evidence given to the Police or Inquiry.  I went to Firex - a large fire safety exhibition in London - a few weeks after the Grenfell tragedy. A panel had been hastily drawn up to discuss the fire safety matters arising from the disaster. Frankly, I was not expecting much as those presenting would surely have their hands tied by subjudicy etc

That was NOT the case. The experts gathered gave their vews with some emotion and vigour. After all, as they spoke, many of the 72 bodies were still in situ. The biggest message for that discussion was that the fire safety industry must not rest until the necessary changes are in place. Some of the changes discussed have ben recommended by experts for years, but ignored by Govt.

I am still angry that phase 1 didnt look at the project and building design control. This is where the real cause of the deaths and ongoing risk lies.

There is a huge demand for new greener products new building design and no more so than with insulation materials, products and systems. Scores are introduced each year and they are getting more complicated. Meanwhile the Govts Approved Document B - the part of the building regs that relates to fire safety - had not been reviewed or reprinted in over a decade. How can those seeking advice be sure of up to date or relevant information?

For context, some countries re issue their fire regs building codes annually, but not here

Some suggest that kicking this bulding regs bit of the Inquiry down the road by 4 or 5 years allows for the Govt Ministers responsible at the time of the fire to have moved elsewhere or resigned. 

They might say that, but I couldnt possibly comment!!!

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Roundtuit  
#36 Posted : 09 November 2019 19:48:01(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

or spend decades seeking someone to blame.
Roundtuit  
#37 Posted : 09 November 2019 20:01:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

How do you know what has or has not been given to the police as evidence?

It is only when someone is invited to defend what they did or did not do will such evidence come to light.

Casting an aspersion in public about what the client was aware of has the possibility to distract from the actual evidence yet to be presented.

No problem discussing how weak our standards are just asking we be considerate enough not to allow some legal eagle a get out to let the possibly guilty walk Scott free.

Regarding kicking the date - it is only this week a court date has been set for what will be a corporate manslaughter case for the Bosely wood floor mill explosion that occured in July 2015  

Edited by user 10 November 2019 14:49:03(UTC)  | Reason: kicking the date

johnmurray  
#38 Posted : 10 November 2019 15:28:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

I am unaware of any legal case proceeding. Nobody has been arrested yet. Nobody/organisation has been charged, yet. So sub-judice does not apply

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RayRapp on 10/11/2019(UTC)
Steve e ashton  
#39 Posted : 10 November 2019 22:43:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Steve e ashton

Not sure if this is allowed but here goes anyway... A friend posted the following my Facebook page. I think it's worth a wider read....
Below is a post from former chief fire officer from Derbyshire fire and rescue (very good and highly respected chief)

Grenfell...

Who’d be a fire chief?
Who’d be a firefighter?

I’ve not read the Grenfell Inquiry yet. Something to look forward to next week.

As a firefighter, you spend decades being told to follow procedures and training. They work, fires get put out, you get to go home safely.

You are told you did a good job, you are audited and the auditors tell you that you are competent and professional. It is reaffirming and reassuring.

Step outside those procedures and you fail your assessment, you are not competent. You don’t want to be there.

All these procedures are written to tackle fire in buildings built to a regulated standard.

The building is supposed to behave in a predictable way. Arm Chair enthusiasts would imagine that fire is not predictable. Well, you are wrong, it is a matter of scientific fact that fire develops and behaves predictably depending on the fuel, air and environment.

That is why firefighters can have standard operating procedures (SOPs) that for the most part work and do the job. If fire was unpredictable you could not have an SOP.

For decades building regs worked and we never suffered a Grenfell even in the 80 and 90s when there were 40% more fires than we have today.

Likelihood and severity, you’ve heard these banded around. In the nineties the likelihood was massive but it seems nowadays the severity has mushroomed as whole buildings are burning down on a regular basis.

If you ever drove through Salford in the 90s a single burnt-out flat was a common sight as you looked up at the high rise buildings. Like a broken tooth.

A fire put out using tried and tested procedure in a building designed to contain the fire to the flat of origin. Most people in the other flats wouldn’t even know that a fire had occurred until the morning after.

No common fire alarm, no mobile phones yet a successful outcome and no mass evacuation.

Why?

Because the buildings were not wrapped in flammable material allowing unchecked spread up the facade and ingress through windows.

Because the internal separation was solid and fire-resistant, because mostly the fire doors unless vandalised worked.

At this time the fire brigade was the responsible authority for fire legislation. We issued fire certificates and our word was law.

Admittedly we didn’t issue certs on domestic property but such was our regulatory power in other premises the local authority building control accepted that we knew what we were about and went with our recommendation

All that changed through deregulation at the end of the 90s. (The reform act of 2005 in fact). I was in fire protection at the time and I remember the old hands predicting a disaster.

It was like giving the kids the keys to the sweet shop. Building owners were now (2006) responsible for the fire safety standards in the same way a manager is responsible for health and safety at work. Some do it well, some do it badly, some do what they can afford and hope it’s enough.

Well, it’s not good enough and it is coming home to roost.

As a chief, you expect your firefighters to follow the policy and be competent, you have the dubious pleasure of being ultimately responsible for making sure that this is the case. It is a massive responsibility, you do your best. You audit the boys and girls to death. They are sick of being assessed. But they are safe, competent and they go home at the end of the shift.

Grenfell.

Imagine turning up at a building where everything has gone wrong the whole fire protection system had failed and the fire is spreading through what should be concrete fire-resistant rooms and up the outside beyond your capability to reach it.

You now need to tell 200 firefighters to forget everything they ever learned and do things completely outside of every procedure they have trained on. Things that could get them killed. It’s a miracle none were.

Every fibre in your body is screaming to do something new and evacuate whilst every professional brain cell is saying “are you mad” if you evacuate the people in the flats with no breathing apparatus they are doomed and it will be seen to have been your call.

Evacuating a burning building means taking people from what you understand to be a place of relative safety (or at least it should be if built right) and asking them to enter smoke-filled corridors and stairs knowing some won’t make it. We are talking about people of all ages and abilities here. Your mum, your grandad, your kids.

What would you do?
How brave are you now sitting in your armchair with the daily mail sword drawn about to slay the guilty?

Making life and death decisions outside of policy because a building had been let slide as a result of a succession of systematic governmental failure, safe in the knowledge that if you lose one firefighter or members of the public are found in stairwells dead you will be squarely in the frame of “going outside of procedure”.

Not so easy is it.

It is no surprise that candidates for chief fire officers jobs total one or two per position when advertised these days.

I stand with Dany Cotton and I stand with London Fire Brigade.

I look forward to part two of the report that looks at root cause including building regs and I sincerely hope the author does his job properly.

I hope everyone understands that firefighters turn up when everyone else’s risk assessment had gone wrong and are tasked with sorting out the mess.

We are not chefs, a missed instruction does not result in a ruined dish. We have to take what ingredients we have been given and bake a cake on the hoof whilst the kitchen is on fire and then have some armchair baker who may have watched his mum make a jam tart once tell us how well we have done.

Don’t get me started on sprinklers. I’ve been vocal, been on the telly, been sat in front of ministers with hard evidence to prove the case and been fobbed off.

Politics is at the root of Grenfell, I doubt any politician will be vilified in the way firefighters and chiefs have this week

Who’d be a chief?
Who’d be a firefighter now?
thanks 3 users thanked Steve e ashton for this useful post.
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A Kurdziel  
#40 Posted : 11 November 2019 10:08:35(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

The piece that Steve has put out is interesting and I have a lot of sympathy for it.  There is unfortunately a strong desire to find someone to blame if something goes wrong, and the part of the report dealing with the firefighting bit has come out first (probably because the LFB has the most documented processes and so are the easiest to write about) and so LFB has become the whipping boy with the media (who of course like to sell stories) taking sides and simplifying everything into “Our brave firefighters” vs “incompetent emergency service”.  The truth is more subtle, but subtly is well too subtle for most people.

It reminds of the sorts of things that Sidney Dekker talks about- a just culture rather than a blame culture.  In a just culture organisations talk about stuff openly and discuss their failures and don’t get defensive but admit to mistakes and work to make things better. It is based on the realisation that ultimately these failures are not down to individuals but failure of the system-the whole system.  Right at the top are the politicians who have go for the most “cost effective “solution which might not be the safest and best. But that is also down to us, as most people would prefer cheap to safe if given that chose and they assume that accidents happen to other people. Remember we chose the idiots that lead us

I do take issue with the writer’s description of the RR (FSO) as deregulation. They don’t seem to realise that this law clearly made the FRA the centre piece of fire safety. The old FPA was a very prescriptive document under which the fire service checked off that the building had certain features which were designed to mitigate the outbreak of fire (eg means of raising the alarm, protected fire escape routes, means to fight the fire) rather that a goal based approach which is about stopping the fire breaking out in the first place. The people best placed to do this are the user/occupiers of the building in question.  Do we really want a situation where if you want to store a can of petrol in in shed you need to get permission for the local fire safety officer?

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