On 14 June 2017, the fire at Grenfell Tower claimed the lives of 72 people and devastated a close-knit community in the heart of London.
Two years on, the bereaved, survivors and residents are still waiting for justice.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has been actively involved in the public inquiry set up to investigate the causes of the fire. Through our participation we hope to secure justice for the victims by ensuring that those responsible are held to account.
As the professional voice of firefighting, the FBU is uniquely placed to understand what change is needed within fire and building safety, to ensure that a fire like the one that happened at Grenfell, never happens again.
The FBU is calling on the government and decision-makers to act upon five key asks:
Ban and remove all combustible cladding
All combustible cladding must urgently be replaced on all buildings, irrespective of height as part of a major national programme to assess and prioritise the scale of the risk and adopt interim safety measures which residents, other building users and firefighters could have confidence in.
Create a democratic and independent tenant organisation
Social housing should be held to the highest health and safety standards. Tenants of Grenfell were repeatedly ignored, their voices, and those of others in social housing should be heard loud and clear through democratic structures.
Create new accountability structures for the fire and rescue service
Our fire and rescue service needs urgent investment and overhaul, and a structure which is accountable to Parliament. For too long the fire and rescue service has been left to rot. As a vital public service, fire and rescue needs central oversight, including UK-wide standards and structures and minimum response times.
Increase the number of firefighters and fire safety officers
After the loss of 1 in 5 firefighter jobs and 1 in 4 fire safety officers since 2010, we need urgent investment in a new generation of firefighters and fire safety officers. We need a commitment to 5 firefighters on every fire engine.
Retrofit sprinklers in high rises and schools, wherever a risk assessment deems them necessary
Coroners' reports have called for sprinkler systems to be fitted, but so far only 32 out of 837 council tower blocks over 30m tall have sprinklers.