thirdcrank wrote:On the point as to whether the inquiry was qualified to reach certain conclusions, Sir Martin Bick-Moore explains in detail how the evidence heard either justifies conclusions
Much of the report's criticism (extract below) of the LFB for its failure to plan, prepare and train for full evacuations in high rise rise buildings like Grenfell Tower was based on Generic Risk Assessment 3.2, a document issued by UK Government's Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser, which set out how UK Fire Authorities needed to address fire fighting in high rise buildings.
Generic Risk Assessment 3.2 appears to have been accepted at face value by the inquiry, whereas I would question whether those responsible for that document knew that the necessary technical guidance and training material/resources for undertaking full evacuations in high rise rise buildings did not exist.
In other words, the current and former Chief Fire & Rescue Advisers who issued that document and its revisions are/were all very senior fire officers. They all should have known from their own personal experience as senior fire officers serving in UK Fire Authorities, latterly typically as a Chief Fire Officer, that there was no such national guidance or training material.
I would like to have seen all the Chief Fire & Rescue Advisers in office when Generic Risk Assessment 3.2 was issued and later revised, give evidence to the inquiry regarding why they did not identify a lack of suitable and sufficient guidance and training on full evacuations in high rise rise buildings as something which specifically needed to be addressed if UK brigades were to be able to comply with Generic Risk Assessment 3.2.
That said, the current and former most senior officers in the LFB (as the brigade with the greatest exposure to high rise buldings), should themselves have identified the absence of the necessary guidance to enable them to fulfil those particular requirements of Generic Risk Assessment 3.2, and then engaged with the Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser, the Home Office and other UK Fire Brigades on a plan to develop suitable guidance and training.
27.1 The purpose of Generic Risk Assessment (GRA) 3.2 was to assist fire and rescue services in drawing up their own assessments of risk to meet their statutory obligations under the relevant Health and Safety at Work legislation. It recommended that contingency plans should be drawn up for individual premises, which should cover the spread of fire beyond the compartment of origin, the possible need for multiple rescues and the need for an operational evacuation plan in case “stay put” became untenable. It follows that fire and rescue services were expected to provide those who might become incident commanders at fires in high-rise buildings with training in evacuation and casualty removal tactics, as well as training to enable them to recognise when a full or partial evacuation has become necessary.
27. 2 GRA 3.2 covers a substantial amount of ground relevant to the LFB’s knowledge of the risks at Grenfell Tower and their operations on the night of the fire itself which are examined elsewhere in this report. For present purposes, it clearly contemplated that total evacuation of a high-rise building should be an important part of any fire and rescue service’s contingency plan for such a building. I refer to pages 15, 16, 17, 19-20, 27, 29 and 49 of GRA 3.2. I need only quote three passages.
a. Page 17: “Contingency plans for particular premises should cover:
• fire spread beyond the compartment of origin and the potential for multiple rescues
• an operational evacuation plan being required in the event the “Stay Put” policy becomes untenable
• alternative communication arrangements to overcome any radio ‘blind spots’”
b. Pages 19-20: “Training, which will cover high rise incidents must include:
• Evacuation and casualty removal tactics. Incident Commanders should understand when a partial or full evacuation strategy might become necessary in a residential building where a “Stay Put” policy is normally in place.”
c. Page 29: “The advice offered to callers to remain in their property during fire survival guidance calls must be re-evaluated throughout an incident. Where circumstances make it necessary, an Incident Commander may need to consider changing the advice given. For example, callers may need to be advised to leave their property or to be guided from it by firefighters. The Incident Commander should also consider making use of all available systems within the building to communicate with occupants.”