Chapter 3: Recommendations directed at London Fire Brigade and emergency services
130. This Chapter deals with the 31 recommendations directed at the London Fire Brigade and Emergency Services. SFRS are addressing these recommendations as they are focused on operational matters, with oversight by the GIFSWG. This is in line with SFRS's commitment to learning all lessons from the fire and taking appropriate actions that will build on the improvement work already taken.
Process to Assessing and Responding to the Recommendations
131. The SFRS routinely review policy and procedure to capture operational learning, and the lessons learned from Grenfell will inform this process. In responding to the Phase 1 report, SFRS carried out a gap analysis of all the recommendations.
132. This analysis concluded that in all instances, SFRS have existing policies and procedures which address, to some degree, the core issues raised by the 31 recommendations within the Phase 1 report. SFRS have arrangements in place, within the Scottish operating and regulatory context, which meet the intention of 11 recommendations. Of the remaining 20 recommendations work is ongoing to build on existing arrangements to ensure that the lessons learnt from Grenfell Tower are incorporated into SFRS procedures and much of this work is aligned to existing workstreams. An action plan has been developed with priority timescales and an overview is provided below.
133. An SFRS Grenfell Tower Phase 1 Recommendations Working Group has been created within the SFRS to develop and coordinate a detailed action plan, which focuses on the above areas. This is Chaired by the Prevention and Protection Function, which retains overall responsibility for the reporting of all post-Grenfell work relating to the Phase 1 recommendations. Due to the nature of the recommendations, this working group also comprises senior representatives from the Response and Resilience and Training functions within the SFRS.
134. In addition to this work being directly undertaken within the SFRS, engagement will continue with relevant partners as progress is made in learning lessons from this tragedy. These partners include the Scottish Government (including the Ministerial Working Group, the Fire and Rescue Unit, and Building Standards Division), the National Fire Chiefs Council, local authorities, and those responsible for building fire safety.
Overview of Recommendations
135. The recommendations made to LFB and other emergency services cover the following areas;
- personnel understanding of risks associated with fire in buildings' external walls;
- inspections and familiarisation visits to high rise buildings, including availability of premises plans;
- communications between Incident Commanders, Operations Control and bridgeheads;
- policies and training for Control Operators, including the provision of fire survival guidance for large numbers of callers simultaneously, and the transmission and displaying of this information to bridgeheads;
- development of policies to manage the transition from stay put to evacuation, including how Control Operators handle this change and convey appropriate advice to callers;
- management of calls received by other FRS or emergency service control rooms, and reading each other's messages;
- better control over the deployment of resources, including the gathering of information from personnel returning from deployments;
- communications equipment for breathing apparatus wearers;
- provision, and training in the use, of Command Support Units;
- provision of smoke hoods to assist in the evacuation of occupants;
- communications in relation to the declaration of a Major Incident;
- communications when utilising airborne assets;
- management of information about survivors.
136. This work will be subject to a future thematic inspection and associated reporting by HMFSI (Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate), at an appropriate time.
137. HMFSI undertake independent external scrutiny of the SFRS, with the purpose of assuring the public and Scottish Ministers that the SFRS is working in an efficient and effective way, and to promote continuous improvement in the Service.
138. More detailed information on the work SFRS are doing regarding the Phase 1 recommendations can be found at the following location: https://www.firescotland.gov.uk/media/2240919/20200917_CSDC23_20_Grenfell_Tower_Update_Action_Plan.pdf
139. Implementation of these recommendations in the majority via best practice guidance, is a proportionate approach to strengthening fire safety in line with the spirit of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 recommendations. Scottish Government will continue to monitor and evaluate this approach on a continual basis going forward, and implement any further changes as appropriate.
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