London Fire Brigade (LFB) commissioner Andy Roe admitted to the London Assembly that there has been ‘no in person high rise training since Grenfell’ for most LFB firefighters.
No ‘face-to-face’ LFB high rise training post Grenfell
7 February 2020
This Is Local London reported on the comments made by Mr Roe at the London Assembly’s fire committee, in which he noted that firefighters have only received a ‘basic’ online training programme since the June 2017 fire, and that most firefighters have ‘received no face-to-face training on how to respond to a high-rise fire’. The news outlet noted that there was ‘visible shock’ when Mr Roe admitted only ‘the most basic’ high rise fire training had been given since Grenfell.
Additionally, he admitted that ‘even this was not delivered until August last year’, with Mr Roe stating to the committee: ‘We have given what I would consider the most basic provision to our officers which covers the sort of decisions they might have to make, the basic guidance. But that needs to be supported and better embedded with changes to operational procedure.’
Mr Roe added that senior officers had ‘received more detailed training’, while all station commanders have had ‘face-to-face briefings on how to respond to a rapidly spreading high-rise fire’ like Grenfell. Crews meanwhile have received training on fire safety in high rise blocks that ‘would feed into their response’ to such a fire, but deputy committee chairman Susan Hall called the developments ‘really worrying’.
The news outlet claimed that the comments added to a ‘concerning picture of training’ at LFB after the recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate for the Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Service (HMICFRS), which had said LFB had been ‘slow to implement’ changes required post Grenfell. It pointed out that Mr Roe has accepted the need for ‘transformational change’, and that it was a ‘tragedy’ that it had taken Grenfell to be the ‘catalyst’ for this change.
Additionally, the news outlet pointed out, he has ‘pushed ahead with a new plan to implement the recommendations’ of both the HMICFRS report and the first phase report from the Grenfell inquiry, and ‘crucially’ he had stated all officers would receive ‘face-to-face’ training on LFB’s new high rise policy set to be signed off next week.
On his personal response to attending the fire – at which he was responsible for abandoning stay put – Mr Roe commented: ‘I stood in front of that tower, and looked at a boxing club I’d been in many times before, that exemplified everything good about uniting London communities, burning to the ground. I saw the bodies of men women and children come out of the block of [the] high rise.
‘I committed hundreds of firefighters at great personal risk. I can’t undo what happened at Grenfell. But what I can tell you is my personal connection to that made me feel immediately the sadness of what I saw it do to a bit of London, to a community – and I will work tirelessly to change that.’