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National Fire Chiefs Council chair marks fifth anniversary of Grenfell tragedy

20 June 2022

ON THE occasion of the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, the chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has duly remembered those who lost their lives in tandem with the myriad individuals who continue to be affected by the tragedy.

Mark Hardingham commented: “It is hard to believe five years have passed since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower. I’m taking time to reflect on the tragedy and remember the 72 people who lost their lives, as well as those who were injured, along with the Grenfell community members who continue to be impacted by the terrible events of that evening in June 2017.”

Hardingham added: “The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is ongoing and we continue to hear evidence which has been distressing for everyone involved. I hope that the findings will bring much-needed answers for the families involved.”

For its part, the NFCC continues to work with central Government and the Fire and Rescue Services to improve how the latter respond to fires and the building safety regime and ensure that people feel safe in their homes.

The NFCC welcomes recent announcements requiring the introduction of emergency evacuation alert systems in new buildings over 18 metres in height and the inclusion of Secure Information Boxes in those buildings over 11 metres, which will afford Fire and Rescue Services access to important details about a building and its residents in the event of a fire.

Ban on combustible materials

The ban on combustible materials in – and on – the external walls of flats in structures over 18 metres tall in England, as well as hospitals, student accommodation and dormitories in boarding schools, has now been extended to new hotels, hostels and boarding houses of this height. That move is fully supported by the NFCC. This also includes a ban on the use of Metal Composite Materials on all buildings.

Work remains underway in relation to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations, including around new Fire Survival Guidance for Fire Controls, training packages on emergency evacuation alert systems and evacuation guidance when fires occur in tall buildings.

Other areas of the NFCC’s work include the Building Risk Review. In essence, this is a review of all high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres that’s being co-ordinated by the NFCC to support Fire and Rescue Services across the country.

The work here encompasses a range of themes, among them compartmentation, evacuation advice, competence and premises information.

NFCC-led changes – including use of the NTG20 talk group to share risk-critical information – have already been employed to help save lives.