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FBU Issue Origin Of Controversial ‘Stay Put’ Policy Ahead Of Inquiry Report

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry (GTI) 1 report is due out on 30 October 2019. The report focuses on the events of the night of 14 June 2017.

Unionsafety supports Fire Fighters across the country and especially following the tragedy of Grenfell which caused loss of life and wrecked lives of residents who survived the fire, and to the fire fighters who attended this terrible incident caused by government de-regulation of Fire Services and in part due to the change of legislation brought in by the Regulatory Reform Act.

The FBU issued this document on 25th October regarding the impending report, which goes into the detail of the controversial ‘Stay Put’ policy and it’s origins.

USRs are encouraged to read the document, which can be downloaded in full from the E-Library here

The FBU are currently preparing for the publication of the [GTI 1] report, including any areas where the fire and rescue service might face criticism or recommendations for change.

We are determined to defend firefighters from unfair criticism and, where appropriate, to highlight the relevant failings of policy makers and politicians.

Around one thousand firefighters, mostly from the London Fire Brigade (LFB), were interviewed by the police about the fire. Last year, the GTI questioned 88 firefighters, control staff, officers of the LFB and other Brigades in its public sessions. It has published more than 250 firefighter witness statements on its website. This has resulted in unfair and unjustified criticism of individual firefighters and emergency control staff in some areas of the media.

The GTI has made the ‘Stay Put’ policy one of the major focuses of its work to date. It has also raised questions about evacuating high-rise residential buildings. This circular explains the background to these issues and why ultimately it is central government that is responsible for any failures with this policy.

The ‘Stay Put’ policy originates with the British Standards Institution (BSI) code of practice CP 3 Chapter IV Part 1: 1962. For flats over 24 metres it stated:

The assumption should no longer be made that buildings must be evacuated if a fire
occurs and high residential buildings should, therefore, be designed so that the
occupants of floors above a dwelling which is on fire, may, if they choose, remain safelyon their own floor.

The BSI periodically published revised codes of practice for flats and maisonettes, with specific ‘stay put’ advice to residents. Approved Document B, the central government guidance on building safety, with regard to the means of escape from flats, states that “simultaneous evacuation of the building is unlikely to be necessary”.

Such guidance and standards were set nationally. Individual fire and rescue services and their employees operated beneath policy determined at the highest level.

As stated above, the full FBU document can be downloaded here



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