Home Emergency Management News EDM Monday Briefing: Inquiry Reveals Safety and Training Gaps in Grenfell Tower Fire
EDM Monday Briefing: Inquiry Reveals Safety and Training Gaps in Grenfell Tower Fire

EDM Monday Briefing: Inquiry Reveals Safety and Training Gaps in Grenfell Tower Fire

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Emergency and disaster management briefing for November 4, 2019: Phase 1 of the London Grenfell Tower high-rise fire inquiry cites blatant gaps in safety and training; the Kincade Fire burning in Sonoma County is 78 percent contained and largely under control; registration is open for a webinar explaining Kari's Law and Ray Baum's Act -- new 911 laws that take effect in 2020; wildfires burning in California have largely been brought under control, but fire officials warn that hot, dry conditions will keep the fire risk elevated; Nestlé USA has issued a voluntary recall for some of its ready-to-bake cookie dough products due to foreign debris contamination; pirates kidnapped nine crew members on a Norwegian-flagged ship off the coast of West Africa; toxic smog in New Delhi forces officials in India to declare a public health emergency and close schools; and phone apps can help with preparedness, assistance, safety and reunification during a disaster.

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1) Phase 1 of the inquiry into the London Grenfell Tower high-rise fire that killed 72 people was released, and its focus centered on events during the night of the fire. Five key findings revealed major gaps in training and safety, including the failure of several fire protection measures inside the building. Training gaps revealed the London Fire Brigade (LFB) had an outdated operational risk database that did not include recent renovations; LFB incident commanders lacked training on how to recognize the need for evacuations or how to organize one; and they had no contingency plan for a full evacuation of the building.

2) Firefighters believe they have gained the upper hand against the Kincade Fire burning in Sonoma County, California. Winds died down Friday, and as of Sunday night, the wildfire had consumed 77,758 acres and was 78 percent contained. About half of the evacuation orders have been lifted. There were no deaths as a result of the intense blaze, but four firefighters were reportedly hurt and 374 structures were destroyed, including 174 homes and 11 commercial buildings.

3) New laws for NextGen 911 will go into effect in 2020, and they will include significant changes that all agencies will be required to implement. The two laws that take effect are Kari's Law -- direct dial to 911 from multi-line phone systems -- and Ray Baum's Act, which requires the dispatchable location of the caller. To assist agencies and jurisdictions with understanding the new laws, a webinar is being conducted by 911.gov on Tuesday, November 12, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time, but registration is required.

4) Wildfires in California have largely been brought under control after weeks of high winds that rapidly spread fires and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents. The Easy Fire and the Getty Fire were both fully contained over the weekend, and the Maria Fire, which began on top of South Mountain, is now 80 percent contained. Although these wildfires are largely under control, fire officials warn that the wildfire risk will continue to elevate through the week as hot and dry conditions persist.

5) A voluntary recall has been issued by Nestlé USA for 26 varieties of its refrigerated cookie dough products. The company is recalling some of its ready-to-bake products distributed nationwide and in Puerto Rico, because they may contain "food-grade rubber pieces." Some of the products being recalled include Nestlé Toll House Cookie Dough bars, tubs, and tube-shaped chubs, and M&Ms Everyday Cookie Dough.

6) Pirates kidnapped nine crew members from a Norwegian shipping vessel anchored in the Gulf of Guinea (the world's most dangerous piracy hotspot) off the coast of West Africa. The vessel, Norwegian-flagged MV Bonita, owned by JJ Ugland, was carrying gypsum -- a mineral used as fertilizer. The attack occurred early Saturday, and the remaining crew notified local authorities and then later docked in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin.

7) Toxic smog blanketed New Delhi over the weekend and into Monday, forcing the cancellation, diversion or delay of dozens of flights into the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Air quality indexes registered over 900 -- 60 times what is considered safe. On Friday, authorities in the Indian city declared a public health emergency, ordered school closures and halted construction projects. The cause of the noxious smog is a combination of smoke from farmers burning fields, vehicle emissions and lingering fireworks smoke from Diwali, the Hindu festival of light.

8) Preparedness is key in surviving a disaster, and ensuring life-saving supplies are on hand -- such as food, drinking water, and first-aid kits -- is just one way to ensure preparedness. There are several phone apps available for iOS and Android that can help residents stay alert and survive a disaster. Some of these apps are free, and others require a small monthly charge. Apps are available for monitoring weather systems and natural disasters before they occur (Natural Disaster Monitor), and there are apps for assistance and guidance during a disaster (First Aid-Red Cross). Other apps can help individuals and families reunite and gain assistance after a disaster has occurred (ReUnite, SirenGPS).

 

Kimberly Arsenault Kimberly Arsenault serves as an intern at the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency where she works on plan revisions and special projects. Previously, Kimberly spent 15 years in commercial and business aviation. Her positions included station manager at the former Midwest Express Airlines, as well as corporate flight attendant, inflight manager, and charter flight coordinator. Kimberly currently holds a master's degree in emergency and disaster management from American Public University.