London Fire– As members of the community have in practice shown support for the victims of the fire, so also is anger building up in the community.
The death tolls of the Grenfell Tower Victims have skyrocketed from 17 to 79.
The Grenfell inferno was clearly an accident that could have been prevented. Secondly, it has posed a question of inequality and quality of UK housing policy.
As pointed out by angry witnesses, survivors and observers, the fire could have been managed better but for these reasons below:
1. The Question of Inequality
Grenfell is situated in the poorest ward in London. In the wake of the accident, the UK government have been accused of nonchalance towards the affair of poor citizens who lived there.
The rhetoric question that the government cannot answer is if there is a possibility that Royalties, celebrities and high profile personalities would be found residing in a structure that has no provision for fire safety.
Severally the residents called out to the government on the need for the installation of fire safety systems in the tower but no response came from them.
The truth that glares everyone in the face is that there may never be a tragedy of this magnitude if Grenfell were a residential building for the creme de la creme of the society. Because there were poor, their calls were ignored. Angry citizens have bluntly accused the government of negligence and demand that justice be served for the gruesome deaths and losses.
2. Say No To Mediocrity
It was discovered that the Grenfell London fire spread rather faster than expected. Though no concrete explanation can be given yet on the cause of the fire, it has been discovered that the cladding materials used for coating the exterior of the high-rise apartments were highly flammable.
In a developed country as the United Kingdom, it is rather awkward that a government-owned residential tower as Grenfell had no fire safety measures. The 24-storey tower with 120 apartments was built in 1974.
Being built over 40 years ago may not pass for an excuse for not having provisions for fire emergencies. The apartment had no fire alarms or fire water sprinkler system.
With as much as a fire alarm, the residents would have evacuated the building before the fire got out of control.
3. Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Well
More than an accident many have described the London fire as a mass murder.
If the government, Housing companies and councils took the housing projects seriously, the recent London fire would have been averted. There are so many questions going through the minds of the people. Was Grenfell never inspected at least after the renovation? Were the materials substandard? was the cladding process properly executed?
4. Never Compromise On The Safety Of The People
Several UK media reports have said that cheap low-quality products were used for the cladding of the tower.
Instead of fire resistant panels, polyethylene plastic panels were used. The polyethylene panels were £2 cheaper per square metre.
This is probably a clear case of penny wise pound foolish. Cutting costs, in this case, has risked many lives.
5. Listening Is A Quintessential Virtue
About 10 complaints were made by the residents of the tower regarding fire risks but neither the government nor the Borough councils listened or took appropriate action.
6. Beware Of Misplaced Priorities
It beats imagination that as much as £8.7 million was expended on the renovation of the Tower but no consideration was given to the installation of fire safety systems.
The renovation covered the exterior coating of the tower; replacement windows and the installation of a communal heating system.
7. Twists Of Life
A well intended protective process ends up enhancing damage during the fire. It is ironical that the cladding process which was intended to protect the building contributed to its ruin. The cladding on the tower helped to spread the fire.
Secondly, it is almost unbelievable that such a tragedy could happen in a country known for its strict fire regulations.
8. Staying Calm Can Save Your Life
You know what they say about desperate times and desperate measures… Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm in the face of danger.
When the fire broke out, residents panicked to the point of jumping through the windows; even babies were reportedly thrown out of the windows.
The Natasha Elcock experience is something we can all learn from. She was trapped with her family on the 11th floor. The door was too hot and could not be opened. The lady looked at the window but saw no hope there. She quickly turned on the taps in her apartment. This kept her and her family alive till it was safe for them to exit the building.
9. The Power Of Survival Instincts
With no fire alarm, some residents were not advantaged to take protective measures early enough. As such, the residents devised a variety of options to flee the burning building.
Some made a rope from their bedsheets trying to climb down through the windows. While a number of residents took the risk and eventually jumped to their deaths, an 11-month-old baby was a miraculous exception.
The baby’s mother shouted for help from a window on the ninth floor and a man with a blanket downstairs caught the baby.
10. Take Personal Precautions
It is not yet conclusive what sparked off the fire but for what it is worth, knowledge of fire alerts and recommended actions will go a long way in fire emergencies. The recent London fire has stressed the need of having extinguishers and water supply handy in residential areas.