Fire Brigade staged major training exercise in Isleworth

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Fire Brigade staged major training exercise in Isleworth
20th June 2014

Smoke billows from a tower block in Isleworth as dozens of firefighters rush inside. 

But not is all as it seems - this is just a training exercise to help London Fire Brigade (LFB) test its response to high rise emergencies. 

It also aims to highlight the brigade’s ‘Know the Plan’ campaign which highlights safety awareness for people living in high rise buildings. 

LBF reviewed its tactics of dealing with tower block fires following an internal review into a 2009 blaze which has been dubbed as the ‘worst UK high rise fire’.

The fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell killed six people, including a three-week old baby, and injured a further 20.

It later emerged Southwark Council knew the building posed a fire risk but did not act and had not carried out a fire risk assessment. 

About 50 firefighters as well as nine engines and specialists vehicles took part in the simulated base yesterday in a block of flats yesterday.

In the test, a fire brakes out on the second floor leaving corridors on the upper floors smoke logged and a number of people trapped in their flats. 

Synthetic smoke was used during the exercise. 

Station Manager Craig Carter  said: “It is crucial that our crews are prepared to deal with a wide range of emergencies and this is one of a number of large scale training exercises that we carry out each year. 

“The exercise in Isleworth is a valuable chance for our crews to further practice their response to high rise fires and the derelict office block, acting casualties and simulated fire conditions give us a unique opportunity to test that response in a realistic environment.”
In recent years the Brigade has put in place a number of improvements to its response to high rise emergencies.

These include improving the information available to firefighters on the location and lay-out of residential high rise buildings and having a dedicated Incident Command Unit at  the scene of all high rise incidents where people are believed to be inside. 

The Command Unit liaise with 999 Control Officers who give fire survival guidance to people who may be trapped. Those details are then relayed to firefighters on the ground so they receive accurate information quickly about the location of any people who require rescuing

Research commissioned by London Fire Brigade shows that 60 per cent of all high rise residents – or about 760,000 high rise households - don’t have a fire escape plan. 

Half said they would get out of their flat even if the fire was somewhere else in the block, which LFB warns is dangerous if the corridors are filled with smoke. 

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