London Fire Brigade urges government to review 'stay put' advice in wake of Grenfell tragedy

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

The head of London Fire Brigade has called on the government to carry out an urgent review into "stay put" advice during high-rise emergencies.

Since the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people in 2017, the London Fire Brigade has called on ministers to step up and implement changes to building regulations to prevent future disasters.

Among the proposals put forward by the London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton includes:

  • Changes to building regulations

  • Complete ban of combustible cladding

  • Sprinklers to be fitted in more buildings, including purpose-build blocks of flats

Asked by ITV News if her suggestion is the safety of people going to bed in high rises could be in doubt, she said: "That would be my concern if I were them.

"I think we need to all call upon government to take those steps and to enforce the removal of that dangerous cladding."

The head of London Fire Brigade has called on the government to carry out an urgent review into Credit: PA

A key issue since the Grenfell disaster has been the "stay put" strategy used by emergency services to direct residents about what to do in emergencies where it is assumed the design and construction of the building will stop fire spreading.

Buildings designed to have a "stay put" strategy, which included Grenfell Tower, are not built to accommodate mass evacuations during a fire.

For example, many of the structures have a narrow staircases and no common emergency alarm, and the LFB is calling on new research on what to do when a building fails.

The LFB has called on the government to review its cladding policy. Credit: PA

Since the Grenfell fire, the LFB has implemented steps which includes putting in place interim advice for commanders to assist mass evacuations in the event of an emergency.

Ms Cotton said: "Fire spread the entire height of Grenfell Tower in less than 30 minutes.

"Residents and firefighters were placed in impossible conditions we had never experienced before.

"That is why I am calling for the Government to reverse more than 20 years of neglect in relation to fire safety and to undertake urgent research on ‘buildings that fail’, which means ‘stay put’ advice is no longer viable in those buildings."

Dany Cotton has called on the government to carry out a review of the fire safety police. Credit: PA

She added: "Since 2014, there have been more than 5,000 high rise fires in London alone and in the vast majority of these incidents ‘stay put’ advice has been effective. It’s very important for people to know that.

“It is completely understandable that stay put advice has been questioned, but we are talking about buildings that fail, rather than advice that fails and there is no clear alternative, which is why this research is needed.”