In the 21st century, United Kingdom remains a great power and has an influential role in the world economy. UK is one of the world’s most significant financial hubs with its capital city, London, housing the offices of the 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. UK is very much celebrated for its castles and historic palaces.
Grenfell Tower, a 24- storey building with 127 flats located in the working-class, multi-ethnic northern Kensington, country’s “wealthiest borough”, had undergone a tragic event. It was a horrible night after a warm day in London, a massive blaze broke out in the building on 14th June around 1 am. The fire ripped through all the floors of building as soon as it was burst out .The blaze engulfed the building within an hour costing the lives of 79 residents.
As far as the history of UK is concerned, it is the worst fire accident after the incident of ‘Great fire of London’ which happened in September 1666 lasted for 5 days consecutively. An unquenched fire in the oven of a bakery had been broken out into a fire storm due to night wind. This fire destroyed the London city in a massive scale. At the end, the fire was put out by two factors; first one was making ‘fire breaks’, i.e., demolishing structures to halt the spread of fire and the second factor was the change in the wind direction that settled the huge fire.
Rescue efforts of safety team
There were 200 fire fighters with 40 fire engines battled to combat the blaze under control. They rescued around 65 people from the buildings at the earliest course of action putting their lives at risk. A new “Grenfell fire response team” had been setup to help the victims with 24 hour operation. A team of executives from other London boroughs, Government staff, NHS workers and British Red Cross volunteers gathered together in order to support the families of the sufferers and to carry out the relief operations effectively. The London fire brigade had executed the incredible rescue efforts over this incident. In the recent years, the London fire brigade team has been quickly responding to the fire accidents, in effect, reduced the number of fatalities in the city.
Causes & Lapses in fire safety
In fact, before this heartbreaking incident happened, the tenants of Grenfell tower were complaining to the estate management about the lapses in the fire safety measures of the building over the period of time. Unfortunately, no response was initiated by the estate management. Recently, the building had been refurbished with aluminum cladding on the building with double-glazed windows and a communal heating system. This cladding was made up by the Reynobond PE material which is a cheaper and easily flammable material. Others reasons for the incident are presumed to be no alarm facility, faulty electrical wiring, faulty fridge and the lack of sprinklers and exits in the building. London Mayor commented about this incident as a ‘Preventable accident’ and ‘Years of neglect’ by the authorities.
Future course of actions
- In defense of preventing such kind of fire accidents in future, the appropriate measures must be taken to audit the buildings covered by aluminum claddings and to ensure the availability of fire alarms, fire sprinklers and emergency exits in all the floors.
- External staircases have to be constructed in the buildings to escape in the emergencies.
- Good housekeeping methodologies should be implemented in order to prevent the accumulation of hazardous materials in the floors.
- Fire-fighting equipments and emergency lighting must be installed in the corridors of the buildings.
- Frequent Fire drills must be conducted to the residents of the buildings in order to respond effectively at the time of emergency.
- Ceiling and floor voids should be clear of debris and be protected to prevent the spread of fire.
- The newly constructed and refurbished buildings must be audited by the safety professionals to identify any breachment of regulations.
- The basic fire safety standards should be implemented in all the buildings by the owners with zero negligence.
- The need of the hour, throughout the world, is utilizing the expertise of safety professionals to save the valuable lives of innocent people.