30th Anniversary of Kings Cross Fire that Claimed 31 Lives

The early evening of 18th November 1987.  The height of rush hour for thousands of commuters and tourists travelling through London.  a fire broke out and ripped through the station concourse, having taken hold in an escalator plant room.

31 people lost their lives that evening, including one of the firefighters who battled to save them, Station Officer Colin Townsley who had entered the station with colleagues to assess the situation.  100 were left injured by the fire and many many more left traumatised.

This weekend and the coming few days will see  numerous news reports and retrospectives looking back and highlighting some of the lessons that could have, should have been learnt from this tragic and horrific event.

Who would have imagined that 30 years on, no more than a few miles across London, another huge fire would break out and cause enormous loss of life once again.

As a direct result of the fire and loss of life that evening in 1987 and following a public enquiry, important changes were made in fire precautions especially on the underground. Wooden escalators were removed and underground staff were trained in recognising what they should do in the event of fire.

Members of the fire brigade, emergency services, victims families and others affected by the blaze will attend a special service on Saturday 18th November 2017 – 30 years on.

Firework safety

Were you aware that:

It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in public places and an offence for anyone, other than a firework professional, to possess professional display fireworks.

Police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices to those under the age of 18 caught with fireworks in a public place.

It is illegal to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. On 5 November, displays can continue until midnight and on certain occasions, such as New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, fireworks can be set off until 1am.

With the 5th November fast approaching thoughts turn to fire work and bonfire safety.  Most Fire Brigades in the UK provide advice via their websites.  We have summarised below the key points.

  •   Only buy fireworks marked with the British Standard Kitemark BS7114
  • Don’t drink alcohol if setting off fireworks
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box and always follow the instructions carefully when using them
  • Light them at arms length using a taper and stand well back
  • Never go back to them once they are lit. Even if a firework hasn’t gone off, it could still explode
  • Never throw fireworks and never put them in your pocket
  • Respect your neighbours – don’t let off fireworks late at night and remember there are laws to follow
  • Take care with sparklers – never give them to children under five. Even when they have gone out they are still hot so put sparklers in a bucket of water after use
  • Keep your pets indoors throughout the evening

Attending well organised events you will often have the chance to see better, more spectacular displays than anything you could put on yourself.

 

 

Brigade warns: Avoid Halloween horror and take care with candles

London Fire Brigade are urging party goers to avoid getting an unnecessary fright this Halloween by ensuring their costumes are kept well away from candles and naked flames.

Candles are one of the biggest causes of fires in the home and can be particularly dangerous if you are wearing clothing or fancy dress.

Keep costumes away from candles

Fancy dress costumes often have tassels, capes and other adornments which trail and can easily catch light if they accidentally brush against a naked flame. That is why it is absolutely crucial candles are kept well away from flammable items to minimise the risk of serious fire and injury.

125 candle related fires and 47 injuries

In the last six years during the period between 22 October to 13 November London firefighters have attended 143 fires involving candles, incense and oil burners. During the same period 47 people have been injured in candle related fires.

In a high profile incident in 2015 TV Presenter Claudia Winkleman championed the cause for safer Halloween costumes after her then eight-year-old daughter was hurt when the costume she was wearing caught fire.

Following Claudia’s high-profile campaign, several retailers agreed to increase fire safety standards on all their children’s dressing-up ranges.

LFB top candle and costume safety tips

• Keep candles well away from items that could catch fire like fancy dress costumes
• Only buy children’s Halloween costumes from reputable outlets
• Look for the CE safety mark on outfits
• Place candles on a heat resistant surface, like a ceramic plate
• Never leave a candle unattended
• Always fully extinguish a candle before going to sleep or going out

Unsecured swing barrier causes severe injuries and leads to fine and costs

A West Yorkshire sports club has been fined after a postal worker sustained severe injuries when a swing barrier shattered the windscreen of his van and struck him in the face.

According to information entered in the court hearing, on the morning of the incident a member of the club had not secured the barrier to its latch after opening it and that the failure had been an isolated occurrence. It was told this was an unusual case involving a “one-off individual failure” .

The court also heard that since the incident a notice about locking the barrier in position had been put on the gate and a metal column had been welded to the barrier to stop it penetrating the windscreen of any other vehicle.

The club admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974 and after considering the legal submissions and sentencing guidelines Judge Burn fined the club £140 for the offence.
The Judge commented that it was clear that on all other occasions the barrier had been secured and it was not a case involving an unsafe system.

“It seems to me that a fine in those circumstances is unavoidable as a disposal in this case,” he concluded.

The judge had been asked to order investigation and legal costs totalling about £4,000, but after hearing about the club’s financial position he decided to make them pay just £146 with a victim surcharge of £14.

“This a not for profit club which is an essential part of the fabric of the community in which it operates, run by volunteers for people of all ages,” he pointed out.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “This was a very unfortunate incident that caused serious injury and could have had potentially fatal consequences. We would urge any business that has a similar swing gate on their premises to check and ensure it is being operated safely.”

Fire Door Safety Week is Here

The campaign to raise awareness of the importance of properly specified, installed and maintained fire doors is underway this week.

A door’s a door’s a door, right? No, a fire door is an engineered safety device.

Fire doors are a crucial part of the passive fire protection of every commercial, public and multiple occupancy building.  They save lives and property.

According to the trade bodies, there are about 3 million new fire doors bought and installed every year in the UK, the vast majority made from timber. Fire doors are often the first line of defence in a fire and their correct specification, maintenance and management can be the difference between life and death for building occupants. However, they remain a significant area of neglect, often the first thing to be downgraded on a specification and mismanaged throughout their service life, propped open, damaged and badly maintained. Consequently, Fire Door Safety Week has been created:

  • To raise awareness of the critical role of fire doors, drawing attention to specific issues such as poor installation and maintenance.
  • To encourage building owners and users to check the operation and condition of their fire doors and to report those that aren’t satisfactory.
  • To link together the initiatives of many organisations with common interests in the fire door and passive fire protection industries.
  • To engage and educate people, helping the whole building industry and every property owner to understand the correct specification, supply, installation, operation, inspection and maintenance of fire doors.

Fire doors save lives. Help us raise awareness about the importance of fire doors.  #FireDoorSafetyWeek

What the video here http://firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk/video-specification-installation/ 

London Fire Brigade makes fire safety plea 100 days on from Grenfell Tower tragedy

One hundred days on from the Grenfell Tower disaster and London’s fire chiefs are using the anniversary to remind landlords and residents about their high rise fire safety responsibilities.
The cause and spread of the Grenfell fire, as well as the response to it, are the subject of an ongoing police investigation and public inquiry but the Brigade says there are key actions housing providers, landlords and residents of high-rise residential buildings can take to help prevent fires from occurring in the first place and to reduce the

Landlords, such as local authorities and housing associations, or building owners are responsible for maintaining up to date fire risk assessments for their buildings. These should identify any risks and hazards, which should be put right, as well as the general fire precautions required for the property.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said:
“One hundred days ago we saw the worst residential fire this country has ever seen. It is understandable people living in tower blocks have raised questions about their safety after such an horrific blaze but although this was an incident on an unprecedented scale, thankfully fires are rare.

“The building owner or landlord is responsible for making sure the building remains safe and this includes everything from ensuring fire doors are properly fitted to keeping escape routes free from clutter such as bikes and push chairs. They must also keep residents informed of what they need to do in the event of a fire.

“Having an up to date and detailed fire risk assessment is the single most helpful thing building owners and landlords can do to improve the safety of their residents and it is a legal requirement.“

Top five safety tips for high rise residents

Fire safety in purpose built flats and maisonettes is dependent on good maintenance and housekeeping and residents also have responsibility to play in supporting that by following this simple fire safety advice

• Make sure fire doors to the front of flats and onto corridors and staircases are kept closed and not left held or wedged open as they are designed to stop the spread of fire. All fire doors should also be fitted with a working, self closing mechanism.

• Don’t store things in corridors or on staircases as this can block escape routes and stop firefighters doing their job.

• Install smoke alarms and test  them regularly. As a minimum you should have smoke alarms on each floor if you live in a maisonette – in the hallways and the rooms you use the most, plus a heat alarm in the kitchen.

• Be fire safety savvy – extinguish cigarettes properly if you are a smoker and don’t leave candles or cooking unattended

• Make sure you have a fire plan and that everyone in your home knows what to do in an emergency. If you are not sure what the fire plan is for your building contact your landlord or the building owner.

Firefighters rescue 12 cats and 6 dogs after fire at Animal Hospital

LFB have reported that firefighters rescued 12 cats and 6 dogs after fire at the RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital, Clarendon Drive in Putney on Monday.

The fire started inside a tumble dryer in a laundry room and the Brigade’s fire investigators believe the blaze was caused by towels with oils on them self heating.

A small part of the laundry room was damaged by fire and the remainder of the hospital was unaffected by the blaze.
Crews wearing breathing apparatus rescued 12 cats and 6 dogs from the animal hospital and they were all checked over by an on-site vet.

Approximately 10 members of staff left the property before the arrival of the Brigade. Thankfully none of the animals or staff members were injured.

Caroline Allen, London Veterinary Director for the RSPCA, said: “We are so grateful for the swift response of the London Fire Brigade in responding to our call after a small fire started in a tumble drier in our laundry room.

“Thanks to the quick action of our staff and the action of the LFB, the fire was contained and all the staff and animals were kept safe. The fire crew were so kind and helped us ensure the animals were safe and once the fire was out assisted in moving some who could have been affected by smoke.

“Most of the patients in with us are animals who have been rescued by our Inspectorate and are undergoing treatment for a variety of injuries and illnesses, so they really were down on their luck before they were brought into us. We are so glad they are safe and once their treatment is complete they will go on to be rehomed. We are happy to report that the hospital is operating as normal today.”

More than 100 firefighters tackle blaze in Kent

Fire broke out early this morning and 15 fire engines were at the scene at the peak of the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

The building was evacuated and there were no reports of anyone being injured.

A community briefing centre was set up for the residents of the 22 flats in the block in Lambe Close, Manley Boulevard, the fire service said.

A spokesman for the fire service said: “Crews are likely to remain on the scene for some time.

“It is believed that everyone has been accounted for and a rest centre has been put in place for residents.”

 

£1m fine after self employed contractor dies following ladder fall

A Hull-based bakery has been ordered to pay a fine of £1million after a self-employed contractor died when he fell from a stepladder.

HSE inspector Denise Fotheringham said: “Falls from height remain one of the most common causes of work related fatalities in Great Britain, the risks associated with working at height are well known.

Work at height regulations require that all work at height is properly planned and appropriate access is provided. If Greencore had carried this out this death could have been prevented.”

Hull Crown Court was told that the worker was contracted to complete electrical work at Greencore Grocery Ltd. The worker was wiring a motor situated above a machine whilst standing on a stepladder. The company agreed this work activity could be completed using a stepladder, which it had provided. The employee fell from the stepladder and suffered fatal injuries.

The HSE investigation found that the company failed to properly plan the activity from the beginning including access arrangements to be made for installation of motors to use to carry out this work activity.

Greencore Grocery Ltd of Apex Park, Amsterdam Road, Sutton Fields Industrial Estate Hull, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

The company was fined £1million and ordered to pay costs of £30,000.

Suspended prison sentence for landlord

A Cornish landlord has been fined after failing to maintain gas appliances at his rental properties.

Truro Crown Court heard how gas appliances in the properties went unmaintained and were not inspected by a registered Gas Safe Register engineer.

An investigation by the HSE found the landlord failed to obtain Landlord Gas Safety Records (LGSR) after May 2014. It was also found that the appliances had not been serviced for at least four years.

The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching Regulations 36 (2)(a) and 36 (3)(a) of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998, and Regulation 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 He has been given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 24 months, fined £5,000, and ordered to pay costs of £5,524.

Helping our clients make sense of safety, health and fire