This 24 July 2019 video from Britain says about itself
Firefighters launch Grenfell: Never Again campaign
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is calling for urgent action on a range of fire and building safety issues to prevent another Grenfell, launching a campaign with the Daily Mirror. On the second anniversary of the tragedy, action to prevent a similar fire has been wholly insufficient, with little to nothing being done to tackle the structural issues that led to the tragedy.
The “Grenfell: Never Again” campaign aims to pressure government to take decisive action to tackle the underlying risks which caused the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower. You can sign the petition here.
1. Remove flammable cladding from all tower blocks and public buildings. There are still 328 residential and public buildings using the same cladding as that on the Grenfell Tower, and at least 1,700 with other potentially combustible claddings, including hospitals, care homes and schools as well as high rises.
2. Retrofit sprinklers in high rises and schools, wherever a risk assessment deems them necessary. Coroners’ reports have called for sprinkler systems to be fitted, but so far only 32 out of 837 council tower blocks over 30m tall have sprinklers.
3. Ensure tenants are given a real voice in the running and upkeep of their buildings. Grenfell tenants say their concerns about materials used in the refurbishment were ignored by Kensington and Chelsea council. Tenants’ right should be strengthened and democratically-elected groups given a direct say.
4. Reverse the cuts to firefighter numbers and Fire Safety Officers. In 2016-17, the government spent £1,013m on fire services. But in 2019-20, it will only spend £858m. Every single fire authority has seen the amount it receives in central government funding cut in the last three years.
5. Create a new independent national body to oversee standards and best practices in fire and rescue services across the country. There is no national body to oversee fire and rescue service and fire policy. This means standards vary across authorities and lessons are not being learned. Minimum standards should be set for response times and crewing levels.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:
“The second anniversary of Grenfell must be a moment of both heartfelt reflection and determined action. We have seen 72 lives tragically lost, in a wholly preventable blaze, all while desperately under-resourced firefighters risked their own lives to save others. Firefighters and control room staff never want to see a fire like that again, and are calling on the government to take immediate action.
“In the time since the fire, the government’s facile approach has utterly failed all those involved that night and the thousands of people who are at risk across the country. After two years, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has delivered no answers and we are no closer to tackling any of the underlying causes of the tragedy.
“As things stand, we risk sleepwalking into another catastrophic loss of life. We demand urgent action from government to ensure that the events of Grenfell Tower can never happen again.”
The campaign, launched today with the Daily Mirror, has backing from Grenfell campaign group Justice4Grenfell; Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London; and John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary.
Firefighters will join tonight’s monthly Grenfell Silent Walk and will march alongside community activists in the solidarity march tomorrow. The FBU is a core participant in the ongoing Grenfell inquiry.
From daily News Line in Britain:
Fire service cut to the bone! Kick Tories out before another deadly fire breaks out
18th January 2020
THE INCREASE in the time between a 999 call and fire engines arriving on to the scene of a fire has increased. This is despite the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warning that in a fire seconds mean the ‘difference between life and death’.
Firefighters take 2 minutes 42 seconds longer to respond to a primary fire, compared with 1994/5.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: ‘In a fire, a matter of seconds could be the difference between life and death, so these figures are incredibly alarming. Services have been cut to the bone, and it’s obvious that with fewer firefighters and scarcer resources, firefighters are taking longer to get to fires, putting lives and businesses at risk.’
Over a decade of Tory cuts, during which PM Johnson was Mayor of London, has devastated the fire service. Johnson shut 10 fire stations, axed 552 firefighters’ jobs and took 27 fire engines out of service!
Meanwhile, the 999 call centres are being merged. The FBU has already issued a safety-critical notice after Surrey and West Sussex control rooms were merged. More than 9,000 extra calls per year are to be handled by just four staff, a 79% increase in incidents.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) published their annual report on Wednesday and it was shocking.
The report, while describing a service hacked, slashed and starved of resources, had the cheek to turn its fire against the union itself, alleging the FBU had ‘undue influence’ on the fire service.
The FBU defiantly hit back: ‘We utterly refute any suggestion that the FBU have “undue influence” on our service. We are the democratically elected representatives of professional firefighters. They know best about their service and should have a strong voice in how it is run.’
And the HMICFRS are not the only ones to attack the firefighters. A leaked report by the chairman of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry, Martin Moore-Bick, blamed the London Fire Brigade (LFB) itself for the deaths.
However, the truth is that, if the May government had legislated to make the type of cladding that was used in Grenfell illegal, as was demanded of it, there would not have been a fire at all!
The inquiry is steering the blame for the Grenfell fire away from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) council, the government, the cladding company Arconic, the refurbishment company Rydon, and the Tenants Management Organisation (TMO).
Yesterday, we found out that the inquiry is to have connections with the cladding industry itself. Benita Mehra, a civil engineer, and past president of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) has been appointed by PM Johnson to the Grenfell Tower inquiry panel to take part in the Inquiry’s second phase.
It is a fact that Mehra’s WES received funding linked to US firm Arconic, which supplied the cladding that helped spread the Grenfell Tower fire. Arconic supplied the flammable cladding panels and Rydon did the refurbishment.
These links should bar Mehra from the inquiry. A refusal to do so will be the proof that the much-praised inquiry is biased in favour of the cladding industry, and that its findings, especially its condemnations of the FBU, cannot be taken seriously.
It is the Tory RBKC council, the Tenants Management Organisation who put the cladding up, private companies Arconic and Rydon, and the Tory government that are responsible for the deaths of 72 people in the Grenfell Tower fire. Their deaths are not the responsibility of the brave firefighters, who did their duty and did save many lives.
Rydon and its management team have not faced court corporate manslaughter charges. In fact, Rydon has been awarded further local government contracts. Maidstone borough council has awarded Rydon a contract to build a £9.5m complex at the Kent Medical Campus.
Instead, FBU heroes have been shamefully targeted. Rydon, Arconic, RBKC, the TMO and the Tory government must face justice for the Grenfell Tower atrocity. Otherwise, mass deaths from preventable fires will become the rule.
What is required is a workers government that will make fire safety in workers’ homes its top priority.