London Fire Brigade

Brigade pledges to take lead on high rise safety following Lakanal inquest

28 May 2013

London Fire Brigade has today pledged to play a leading role in promoting a wider understanding of fire safety among high rise residents.

The commitment is a key part of the Brigade’s response  to the Coroner’s  recommendations following the inquests into the deaths of six people in the Lakanal House fire.

Since the tragic tower block fire in July 2009 the Brigade has already introduced a range of new initiatives, policies and equipment that have improved our planning and response to incidents involving high rise premises.  In responding to the Coroner’s specific recommendations the Brigade has now outlined the additional actions it will be taking to further enhance its performance.

The first recommendation made by the Coroner  was to  ‘improve the dissemination of fire safety information’ to ensure  residents living in high rise buildings have a ‘clear understanding of what  they should do in case of fire.’

In response the Brigade will establish a fire safety forum for high rise residential premises with key private and public sector partners, such as London Councils, London boroughs, housing associations and care providers. This will enable it to build on the work it has already done to clarify and reinforce fire safety messages for people living in high rise residential buildings.

Other actions that are being taken include:

  • optimising the way the Brigade gathers information and clarifying what fire crews should highlight and record when they carry out familiarisation visits.
  • implementing recommendations from the Brigade’s own review into the command structure at incidents.
  • introducing new training that will improve operational staff’s awareness of 999 control centre practices and procedures, including those associated with fire survival guidance.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Our thoughts since the fire in 2009 have always been  with the families and loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives. People living in high rise buildings are at no greater risk of fire than those living in other types of property, but I particularly welcome the opportunity that the Coroner’s recommendations have given us to build on the work that we  have been doing to clarify fire safety guidance. 

“As with every emergency we attend, but particularly large scale incidents such as the one at Lakanal House, lessons have been learned.  The London Fire Brigade is an organisation that continually strives to improve the services it provides and I also welcome the opportunity that the Coroner’s recommendations have provided to further enhance how we plan for and respond to emergencies in high rise residential buildings.”

See London Fire Brigade’s full response to the Coroner’s recommendations.