Fire Safety briefing - part of Councils Overview & Scrutiny Committee Fire Safety Review which I attended
Stephen Dudeney - TH Fire Brigade (FB) Commander - an expert on tall building fires provided a briefing
2 serious fires in Hertfordshire in 2005 and Southampton 2010 each resulted in 2 firefighter deaths. This resulted in major changes to how they respond to big fires + Grenfell
Fire in a high rise building = FB send 5 fire engines and 1 fire ladder
Multiple 999 calls in a high rise building i.e. Grenfell = FB send 8 vehicles plus senior commander (who can call in more resources)
Fire in high rise with known cladding issues = FB send 10 vehicles plus senior commander
Aerial fire ladder - 15 in London with 30 meter tall ladders - built between 2002 & 2007 but will be replaced becuase of Low Emission Zone issues on air quality. Will buy 10 with 30 meter long ladders and 5 with 55 meter long ladders (went to Germany to look at new ladders). Can in theory buy longer ladders but cannot get them around London streets. Do not think they need 55 meter long ladders but post Grenfell cannot take risks.
Are buying camera drones as well but for wider policing and security use as well. They borrowed one from Kent for Grenfell.
I asked question are they ready for 75 storey buiding? Yes, critical issue is how quickly they can get from ground to source of fire (they usually start fire fighting ops 2 floors below fire source). They will use lifts to get up quickly if necessary.
Tall buildings now built to much better safety standards and should have wet risers, air tight stair wells, fire risers etc
FB try and visit major buildings regularly and a major tall building would get annual visits so that crews are familiar with layout.
Layout of buildings are uploaded onto mobile data terminals which FB can access on the way
But each major building should have a "Premises information" plate with basic safety information FB need (you may want to check your building)
His advice is still very much to stay in place if there is a major fire elsewhere in building. If you exit building it makes it more difficult for FB to get in and move around as stairwells blocked.
Only two places where advice did not work was Lakanal House and Grenfell. But there are thousands of fires each year and in 99.99% of cases staying put is the right thing to do but sometimes it is not.
Nobody in the UK has died in a fire where the building had operational sprinklers
Next meeting in February will go into more detail on these issues.
Rest of meeting about TH Council role and Social Landlords will post later
Was really surprised only 2 Councillors attended session tonight. I have to admit I missed first meeting where they agreed terms of review as looking after my niece but I had expected a larger turnout from Councillors given the issue