With the public inquiry into the events of 14th June 2017 underway it has been announced that the Metropolitan Police will carry out an investigation into the use of the “stay put” policy during the fire at Grenfell Tower.
Information provided to the inquiry suggested that the stay put advice had “effectively failed within 40 minutes of being issued” and that residents had not been given the instruction to evacuate for a further hour, by which time 107 people were still inside the tower, 71 of whom are known to have died on the night.
The view expressed to the inquiry was that there was “an early need for total evacuation”.
While many factors contributed to the tragic events at Grenfell it is necessary to ensure that all lines of enquiry are followed and that the actions and decisions of emergency responders are reviewed. While this might seem abhorrent to some it is essential that lessons are learned that will change and improve safety in high rise buildings.
London Fire Brigade, in response to the investigation have stated that there was a “fundamental misunderstanding” that those in charge of the firefighting response were able to change the fire safety policy for the building when it was not designed for a simultaneous evacuation.
The debate on the use of the stay put policy seems set to continue for the foreseeable future.