FBU calls for forum to implement inquiry recommendations
THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) believes that recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry must be implemented ‘quickly and efficiently’.
The report was officially released at the end of October, and outlined that the building’s aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding was ‘the principal reason’ for fire spread; while also being critical of London Fire Brigade (LFB). Chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick called for ‘urgent action’ to improve high rise fire safety, and wanted recommendations ‘implemented without delay’.
FBU general secretary Matt Wrack has now written a letter to a wide range of representatives calling for a ‘turning point’ in UK fire safety. Those sent the letter include: representatives of the government and shadow cabinet; the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; LFB; the National Fire Chiefs Council; the Mayor of London; the Local Government Association; other fire safety bodies, and the Grenfell community.
The letter called for the inquiry’s report recommendations to be implemented ‘quickly and efficiently’, and for a forum of ‘all those needed to drive through sweeping changes to UK fire safety. Mr Wrack added that firefighters, tenants, the government and fire safety and housing specialists need to work together to ensure that ‘the lessons to be learned from this first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry are put into practice’.
His letter called for an ‘urgent meeting’ to discuss implementing these ‘quickly and efficiently’, and pointed out that the FBU ‘welcomes’ the recommendations, believing many are ‘long overdue’. However, for them to be implemented a forum of ‘relevant fire safety individuals and organisations’ needs to be ‘urgently convened’, with the 46 recommendations aimed at a ‘variety’ of bodies.
The government for example has been ‘instructed to develop’ national guidelines for partial or total evacuations of high rise residential buildings, while LFB and the fire and rescue services have received some ‘as a whole’. The FBU believes that tenants’ representatives ‘should have a voice in all of these matters’ as well, and also thinks that fire industry bodies ‘can help advise owners and managers’ of high rise residential buildings on ‘how to implement the most robust fire safety measures’.
Grenfell, he added, ‘should be a turning point in fire safety across the UK’, and as a result ‘all relevant parties should be represented to ensure the recommendations are realised’. All wish to ‘ensure that the lessons to be learned’ from the first phase ‘are put into practice’, and ‘set a precedent for action’ on the second phase’s recommendations.
He concluded by noting that the FBU would ‘welcome proposals from any organisation with a suitable venue to host the first meeting of the forum’, or it would be ‘happy to make such arrangements’.