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LFB updates on progress made against Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations

02 November 2021

TWO YEARS after the Grenfell Tower Inquiry published recommendations for the London Fire Brigade (LFB) and others, the LFB has just published an update on its progress in implementing them. The Brigade accepted every recommendation from the Public Inquiry and, over the past two years, has implemented multiple changes to the way in which it operates as it continues to learn lessons from the fire and works to keep Londoners safe.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry report initially made 46 recommendations in total, of which 29 were aimed either at the LFB or at the Emergency Services (including the LFB) more widely. A further 11 recommendations were directed at other parties, but require some subsequent action by the Brigade.

As of Friday 29 October 2021, the LFB can confirm that it has completed 23 of the 29 recommendations aimed at either itself or the Emergency Services more widely. A further three are scheduled to be completed by December, duly leaving only three recommendations outstanding.

Some of the recommendations already in place include new and robust ways of collecting operational risk data on high-rise buildings, new training and communications protocols for the 999 Control Room and incident commanders, new training for all staff to help them recognise rapid external fire spread and new and revised policies designed to help them mitigate that risk. There’s also the provision of ‘smoke hoods’ allowing residents to be evacuated from buildings more safely.

The remaining outstanding recommendations are in progress, but awaiting the successful procurement of new equipment, such as radios that can be used while firefighters wear both a helmet and breathing apparatus. Additionally, one action is reliant on the setting up of a ‘Multi-Agency Information Transfer’ system by the Home Office.

Plans for transformation

The progress comes alongside additional other non-Grenfell Tower Inquiry related improvements that the Brigade has been establishing through the last two years in response to recent inspections and its own plans for transformation.

London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe commented: “We accepted every recommendation made to us by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and, while there’s still work to do, I’m pleased to say that we have a number of new and important pieces of policy, training and practice now in place and protecting Londoners.”

Roe continued: “We know that we owe it to the bereaved families, the survivors and the residents – whose lives have been torn apart by what happened that night – to learn, change our Fire and Rescue Service and improve. The progress we’ve made following the disaster means that we are now in a better position to protect every Londoner. We also continue to have detailed discussions with community representatives, in Kensington and across London, on how we can serve them better as we, and the city, continue to transform.”

Devastating event

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, stated: “The Grenfell Tower fire was a devastating tragedy and we will always remember the 72 innocent Londoners who lost their lives. We owe it to those who died, those who lost loved ones and those who survived the fire to do everything we can to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Khan continued: “Two years on from the Phase 1 report from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the London Fire Brigade has been working to put in place all the recommendations made as swiftly as possible. I’m pleased that the Brigade has completed the majority of the recommendations – including new training for the 999 Control Room and the introduction of ‘smoke hoods’, allowing residents to be evacuated from buildings more safely – but there’s more work to be done to see the changes fully implemented.”

He added: “I remain deeply concerned that, four years on from the Grenfell tragedy, those in high-rise building are still living in fear. That’s why I’m calling on the Government, developers and building owners to act now and make the urgent changes needed to remove flammable cladding and material on balconies that could contribute to the spread of fire and fully cover the cost of interim safety measures.”

In conclusion, Khan said: “I’m personally committed to continuing to do everything within my power to ensure the Grenfell community receives the justice it deserves and that all Londoners can feel safe in their homes once again.”