Grenfell inquiry report urges 46 changes to ensure safety of high-rise residents

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick has identified 46 changes that should be made to ensure the safety of high-rise residents.

These touch on the ways the buildings are designed, constructed, approved and managed and how fire and rescue services respond.

When deciding on the recommendations, Sir Martin said he had particularly considered their capacity for “making a significant contribution to the safety of those who live in high-rise buildings”.

Here are the key recommendations, plus the areas to be looked at in phase two.

Evacuation:

– the Government must develop national guidelines for carrying out partial or total evacuations of high-rise residential buildings, which include procedures for evacuating people who are unable to use the stairs in an emergency, or who may require assistance (eg disabled people, older people and young children)

– fire and rescue services must develop policies and training for partial and total evacuation of high-rise residential buildings

– all current and future high-rise residential buildings must be equipped with sounders or similar devices enabling fire services to send an evacuation signal to the whole or a selected part of the building

– all fire and rescue services must be equipped with smoke hoods for evacuation through smoke-filled exit routes

The owner and manager of every high-rise residential building must:

– draw up and regularly review evacuation plans, provide copies in electronic and paper form to their local fire service and place in an information box on the premises

– prepare personal emergency evacuation plans (PEEPs) for all residents whose ability to self-evacuate may be compromised and keep these in the information box

– the owner and manager of every residential building containing separate dwellings must provide fire safety and evacuation instructions in a form that the occupants of the building can reasonably be expected to understand

Emergency calls:

– The LFB’s policies must be amended to draw a clearer distinction between callers seeking advice and callers who believe they are trapped and need rescuing

– all fire and rescue services must develop policies for handling a large number of fire survival guidance (FSG) calls simultaneously

– electronic systems must be developed to record FSG information in the control room and display it simultaneously in units at the fire

– policies must be developed for managing a transition from “stay put” to “get out”

– control room staff must receive training on handling such a change of advice and conveying it effectively to callers

Fire doors:

– the owner and manager of every residential building containing separate dwellings must carry out an urgent inspection of all fire doors

– they must carry out checks no less than every three months to ensure that all fire doors are fitted with effective self-closing devices in working order

– all those who have responsibility for the condition of the entrance doors to individual flats in high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding must ensure that they comply with current standards

Floor numbers:

– floor numbers must be clearly marked on each landing within the stairways and prominently in all lobbies so they are visible both in normal conditions, low lighting and smoke

Plans and inspections:

The owner and manager of every high-rise residential building must:

– provide their local fire service with information about the design and materials of its external walls and inform them of any material changes

– provide their fire service with up-to-date paper and electronic floor plans, showing key fire safety systems

– regularly inspect lifts intended to be used by firefighters in an emergency, test the mechanism which allows firefighters to take control of them and report the results to the fire service every month

All fire and rescue services must:

– ensure that all officers of the rank of crew manager and above are trained and aware of the requirements expected during inspections of high-rise buildings

– be equipped to receive and store electronic plans and to make them available to incident commanders and control room managers

– ensure that all staff understand the risk of fire taking hold in the external walls and know how to recognise this

Communication:

– all officers who may be expected to act as incident commanders must receive training on communication with the control room

– all control room operators of assistant operations manager rank and above must receive training on communication with the incident commander

– a dedicated communication link must be provided between the senior officer in the control room and the incident commander

Command and control:

– the LFB must develop policies and training to ensure better control of deployments and the use of resources

– the LFB must develop policies and training to ensure that better information is obtained from crews returning from deployments and that it can be made available immediately to the incident commander

– the LFB must develop a communication system to enable direct communication between the control room and the incident commander and improve the means of communication between the incident commander and the bridgehead

– the LFB must investigate the use of modern communication techniques to provide a direct line of communication between the control room and the bridgehead

Equipment:

– the LFB must urgently take steps to obtain equipment that enables firefighters wearing helmets and breathing apparatus to communicate with the bridgehead effectively

– the LFB must urgently take steps to ensure that the command support system is fully operative on all command units and that crews are trained in its use

Emergency services:

– each emergency service must communicate the declaration of a major incident to each other as soon as possible

– clear lines of communication must be established as soon as possible between the control rooms of the individual emergency services

– steps must be taken to investigate the compatibility of the emergency services’ systems with a view to enabling them to read each others’ messages

– Emergency services and local authorities must investigate ways of improving the collection of information about survivors and making it available more rapidly to those wishing to make contact with them

Sir Martin did not make recommendations in certain areas, instead saying they fall under the remit of the inquiry’s second phase

These are:

– whether the regulations relating to high-rise buildings in England and Wales should be changed to apply to buildings lower than 18 metres

– whether the use of combustible materials on the outside of high-rises should be banned

– the testing and certification of materials

– the installation of sprinklers

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