Tower Block Disaster

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.
Oldjohnw
Posts: 4508
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Oldjohnw » 3 Nov 2019, 8:37am

There's also the worrying feeling that some people, such as the residents of tower blocks (along with Vietnamese migrants and Chinese cockle pickers and a while lot more) simply don't matter very much. They are inconvenient.
John

reohn2
Posts: 39427
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 3 Nov 2019, 8:38am

slowster wrote:......... but from some comments I have read I think that there may be some other very significant factors (e.g. compartmentation breached and gas pipelines not properly enclosed in fire resisting material etc.). These raise major and very difficult questions about how we manage, control, regulate and enforce building safety in existing buildings. Prevention is vastly more important than cure, and overly focusing on the suggestion that brigades need to be prepared (and resourced, trained and equipped) for mass evacuation is a distraction from what matters most.

This^^^
The problem with Grenfell from what I've read was that the whole building was a tinderbox waiting to go up in flames.The residents knew it and complained time and again about the many issues and particularly about sprinklers.
Sprinklers AIUI on stairwells would've given a safe passage to evacuate.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

reohn2
Posts: 39427
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 3 Nov 2019, 8:40am

Oldjohnw wrote:There's also the worrying feeling that some people, such as the residents of tower blocks (along with Vietnamese migrants and Chinese cockle pickers and a while lot more) simply don't matter very much. They are inconvenient.

That would seem to be the case IMHO.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 8027
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 3 Nov 2019, 8:42am

slowster wrote:Said a lot of interesting and thought-provoking things.

...of which there's little to argue with, but what's nagging me is the back up to (the very successful hitherto, as I previously accepted) Plan A was, well, Plan A, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Plan A was already resulting in precisely that which it was developed to presevent.

It's the comments of the Commissioner, who had presumably been given legal advice that are giving me pause for thought. She followed up the comments we've previously discussed with a rider to the effect of (exact quote welcomed) "but even if we had have changed the approach, we couldn't have got everyone out anyway". No, probably not, but more is better, surely.

I think what the Enquiry was rightly concerned about is the subsequent Institutional Learning which has not taken place under this leadership, evidently.

All of the things that happened on the night happened for a reason, likely a good reason. It was not foreseen* that fire would be spread in this way, spread by a wrapping of flammable material, and ingress to the flats via windows that simply melted and fell out. But it is surely right that the actions of everyone on that night, previously and subsequently be scrutinised. It happens in air accidents, after all, even with the spectre of litigation hanging over the process.




*And, for the avoidance of doubt, likely could not have reasonably been foreseen.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Vorpal » 3 Nov 2019, 10:04am

Bonefishblues wrote:
All of the things that happened on the night happened for a reason, likely a good reason. It was not foreseen* that fire would be spread in this way, spread by a wrapping of flammable material, and ingress to the flats via windows that simply melted and fell out. But it is surely right that the actions of everyone on that night, previously and subsequently be scrutinised. It happens in air accidents, after all, even with the spectre of litigation hanging over the process.

It does and should happen in every major incident, even if there is no loss of life.

Every cause and causal factor needs to be addressed because failing that is realtively minor in one circumstance, such as communicaiton issues, could cause or contribute to loss of life in another.

When major incidents occur, there is almost always a sequence of events with multiple failings in multiple systems.

However, what it should not do, is lead to criticism of individuals (e.g. the watch commander responsible for LFB response on the night of Grenfell) for errors of judgement if they have not been adequately prepared to make the judgements required of them in extremity.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Bonefishblues
Posts: 8027
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 3 Nov 2019, 10:22am

Vorpal wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:
All of the things that happened on the night happened for a reason, likely a good reason. It was not foreseen* that fire would be spread in this way, spread by a wrapping of flammable material, and ingress to the flats via windows that simply melted and fell out. But it is surely right that the actions of everyone on that night, previously and subsequently be scrutinised. It happens in air accidents, after all, even with the spectre of litigation hanging over the process.

It does and should happen in every major incident, even if there is no loss of life.

Every cause and causal factor needs to be addressed because failing that is realtively minor in one circumstance, such as communicaiton issues, could cause or contribute to loss of life in another.

When major incidents occur, there is almost always a sequence of events with multiple failings in multiple systems.

However, what it should not do, is lead to criticism of individuals (e.g. the watch commander responsible for LFB response on the night of Grenfell) for errors of judgement if they have not been adequately prepared to make the judgements required of them in extremity.

I agree. The trigger for the 'uh-oh' moment for me is the comments of the Commissioner.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4508
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Oldjohnw » 3 Nov 2019, 10:26am

Whatever the LFB did or didn't do, or might have done or should have done, they did not cause the fire. In the same way that social workers, even if they fail in their supervisory role, do not kill the child.

But firemen and social workers are easy to blame.
John

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18239
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Vorpal » 3 Nov 2019, 11:14am

Oldjohnw wrote:Whatever the LFB did or didn't do, or might have done or should have done, they did not cause the fire. In the same way that social workers, even if they fail in their supervisory role, do not kill the child.

But firemen and social workers are easy to blame.

TBH, I think they should have published the whole inquiy at once. Failing that, they should have looked first at the causes and contributory factors of the fire itself, and the governmental and regulatory failings that led to it, rather than the emergency response.

I expect that this part of the inquiry was concluded first. The decision to publish the emergency response first is most likely a political decision. The 'leak' beforehand was idiocy.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4508
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Oldjohnw » 3 Nov 2019, 11:31am

Vorpal wrote:
Oldjohnw wrote:Whatever the LFB did or didn't do, or might have done or should have done, they did not cause the fire. In the same way that social workers, even if they fail in their supervisory role, do not kill the child.

But firemen and social workers are easy to blame.

TBH, I think they should have published the whole inquiy at once. Failing that, they should have looked first at the causes and contributory factors of the fire itself, and the governmental and regulatory failings that led to it, rather than the emergency response.

I expect that this part of the inquiry was concluded first. The decision to publish the emergency response first is most likely a political decision. The 'leak' beforehand was idiocy.


We do have a government which is hellbent on dismantling regulation, which it dismisses as EU red tape.
John

Bonefishblues
Posts: 8027
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 3 Nov 2019, 11:36am

Oldjohnw wrote:Whatever the LFB did or didn't do, or might have done or should have done, they did not cause the fire. In the same way that social workers, even if they fail in their supervisory role, do not kill the child.

But firemen and social workers are easy to blame.

...especially if words like 'blame' are routinely used.

slowster
Posts: 1410
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby slowster » 3 Nov 2019, 11:53am

Bonefishblues wrote:what's nagging me is the back up to (the very successful hitherto, as I previously accepted) Plan A was, well, Plan A, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Plan A was already resulting in precisely that which it was developed to presevent.

The threshold to depart from Plan A has to be extemely high, because there is no Plan B. By that I mean that the option of going against the rules and training and instigating a mass evacuation entails doing things for which the brigade has not properly planned. It's not just a matter of firefighters performing different roles, there are probably major resource and equipment needs to be able to give an incident commander the option of mass evacuation, such that it would genuinely be a Plan B, i.e. a change to the deployment of firefighters that had been developed and tested in training, with the necessary extra/different kit and resources (more firefighters), that invoking such a plan would entail. Otherwise calling it Plan B is very misleading: it's not a plan, it's disregarding the rulebook and decades of training and experience, and making it up as events unfold.

Focusing on what Dany Cotton said is a distraction and a red herring. I don't know exactly what she meant, but she is retiring next year anyway and her influence on what changes the LFB (and other UK brigades) will make following Grenfell is probably limited. I imagine that quite a lot of work will be done by mid-level and senior level management in UK brigades to consider how they might respond differently, and what the implications of that might be in terms of resources, equipment and likely outcomes (as I said above, under many/most circumstances, mass evacuation is likely to be the higher risk option, and result in more fatalities). High rise buildings pose huge challenges for fire brigades all around the world, and brigades do look at how other countries manage the risks.

reohn2 wrote:Sprinklers AIUI on stairwells would've given a safe passage to evacuate.

No they wouldn't. They are not a smoke control system, and smoke would have continued to enter the stairwell from the adjacent areas on each floor where the fire was burning. In buildings that do have sprinkler systems, sprinklers are not installed in such stairwells precisely because there is no point in having them there.

reohn2
Posts: 39427
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 3 Nov 2019, 12:01pm

slowster wrote:.......
reohn2 wrote:Sprinklers AIUI on stairwells would've given a safe passage to evacuate.

No they wouldn't. They are not a smoke control system, and smoke would have continued to enter the stairwell from the adjacent areas on each floor where the fire was burning. In buildings that do have sprinkler systems, sprinklers are not installed in such stairwells precisely because there is no point in having them there.


You seem to be coming from a position of knowledge on such matters,if so I bow to that knowledge,but would not sprinklers on stairwells dampen down smoke?
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 8027
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Bonefishblues » 3 Nov 2019, 12:23pm

slowster wrote:
Bonefishblues wrote:what's nagging me is the back up to (the very successful hitherto, as I previously accepted) Plan A was, well, Plan A, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Plan A was already resulting in precisely that which it was developed to presevent.

The threshold to depart from Plan A has to be extemely high, because there is no Plan B. By that I mean that the option of going against the rules and training and instigating a mass evacuation entails doing things for which the brigade has not properly planned. It's not just a matter of firefighters performing different roles, there are probably major resource and equipment needs to be able to give an incident commander the option of mass evacuation, such that it would genuinely be a Plan B, i.e. a change to the deployment of firefighters that had been developed and tested in training, with the necessary extra/different kit and resources (more firefighters), that invoking such a plan would entail. Otherwise calling it Plan B is very misleading: it's not a plan, it's disregarding the rulebook and decades of training and experience, and making it up as events unfold.

Focusing on what Dany Cotton said is a distraction and a red herring. I don't know exactly what she meant, but she is retiring next year anyway and her influence on what changes the LFB (and other UK brigades) will make following Grenfell is probably limited. I imagine that quite a lot of work will be done by mid-level and senior level management in UK brigades to consider how they might respond differently, and what the implications of that might be in terms of resources, equipment and likely outcomes (as I said above, under many/most circumstances, mass evacuation is likely to be the higher risk option, and result in more fatalities). High rise buildings pose huge challenges for fire brigades all around the world, and brigades do look at how other countries manage the risks.

To be clear, there was no Plan B on the night, nor is there, seemingly, a plan to create a Plan B, given the response of the Commissioner. That is what is concerning. It has already been 2 1/2 years since that night. we now know that there are numerous buildings where the same event could occur. Leaving aside (not because it's unimportant, but for the sake of avoiding deflection) the issue of the lack of response to that issue, surely that planning should already be underway/substantially complete/complete?

On the night, members of the LFB were executing a Plan that was clearly failing. Of course the threshold was high to abandon the Plan and try to evacuate - but if seeing a Plan failing in front of ones eyes, and people dying in large numbers as a result isn't such a threshold, then I am nonplussed to understand what that threshold might be?

I disagree regarding the Commissioner's comments. There is rightful concern that her comments, having had legal advice, might indicate a more general issue within LFB (one readily remembers the issue of Institutional Racism being surfaced within the Met Police following another tragedy). It is of no significance that she will retire next year.

slowster
Posts: 1410
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby slowster » 3 Nov 2019, 12:25pm

reohn2 wrote:would not sprinklers on stairwells dampen down smoke?

Not to any significant extent. Sprinklers are not a recognised or accepted method of controlling smoke. By way of example the Digital offices in Basingstoke were destroyed by fire in 1990. The offices were sprinklered, but the fire brigade turned the sprinklers off because there was so much smoke that they could not see and thought the fire was either out or under control. That's how ineffective the sprinklers were in keeping smoke down. The building was destroyed.

Things like smoke seals on fire resisting doors and positive presurisation of stairwells are recognised methods of controlling smoke.

Cyril Haearn
Posts: 13573
Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Cyril Haearn » 3 Nov 2019, 12:32pm

Read of several cases recently where sprinkler systems in theatres leaked or were triggered accidentally, caused enormous damage

Slowster, you seem to know a lot, have you worked for the fire service?

Coton is the first in her job (+1), are female bosses much different from males? What about Cressida Dick?

Interesting to learn about the organisation of the fire and rescue service, seems like the cops or the military, maybe firepersons witness even more misery than cops
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB, 60097
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies