High-rise buildings the focus for fire service
CONTINUED inspections of high-rise buildings and improving communication at the scene of a blaze are among the key focuses for the county’s fire service, in light of last year’s Grenfell Tower tragedy.
Head of delivery at Bucks Fire and Rescue, Neil Boustred, last week updated Bucks County Council on what action has been taken by the service following the major fire at the west London tower block, which caused the death of 72 people in June last year.
While the investigation into the horrific blaze is still ongoing, Mr Boustred told councillors on September 20 that teams are working to familiarise themselves with tall buildings in the county, so they know exactly what to do if a major incident occurs.
He added “very tight” communication has been put in place at Thames Valley Fire Control, which handles emergency calls, to ensure people inside a burning building are given appropriate instructions.
Mr Boustred said: “One of the immediate lessons for us was to make sure our control and incident commander has got a very open communication route.
“Because what we found from Grenfell was that control was still giving very much the response that they had been told to give, which was to stay put, when there was perhaps something slightly different developing at the scene.
“We have put in place very tight communication, so if an incident commander or an incident starts to develop, we can make sure control are subsequently supporting that when they get other calls coming in from residents within in the block.”
Bucks Fire and Rescue are awaiting the outcomes of the current inquiry to see if any further changes need to be made.
Teams are also going out into the community to engage with residents and urge them to contact the fire service if they have any questions or concerns.
Mr Boustred added: “We have been going out still to ensure we are doing joint inspections of our high rise premises.
“This isn’t just from a legal perspective, but to make sure our crews are extremely familiar with those sites and know exactly how to respond if they need to, but also to knock on doors and reassure residents and to make sure they know they have access to the services if they have any other enquiries.”