Grenfell Towers Fire – A preventable tragedy?

By 15th June 2017Uncategorised

As Britain reels from yet another disastrous loss of life,with likelihood that fatalities are probably going to increase, we have to ask – when will the issue of fire safety really be taken seriously and addressed properly?

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Firstly, we’d like to say that our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by yesterday’s fire.

The tragic events that unfolded at Grenfell Towers yesterday were truly horrific and, in all honesty, could be proven completely avoidable. It’s difficult to know here and now, without knowing the cause of the fire, quite how avoidable, but one thing certainly seems to be very evident – the speed at which the fire took hold of the block and ripped through its very core.

Given that the building had recently undergone a £10m ‘refurbishment’, one would hope that fire safety accounted for a decent proportion of any monies spent.

However, given what we also know about the advancement in both active and passive fire safety products, the speed at which the blaze took hold would appear at odds with what was (or should have) been spent as part of that project.

The simple fact here is that for a relatively small increase in the cost of materials used and fitted, better fire safety standards could easily have been met.

For example, if we consider the lighting in the building, it is probably likely that any LED panel lighting was probably not certified as fire-rated. It’s important to note here that true fire-rated safety only comes with compliance to Building Regulations BS476-22, not TPa diffuser material. TPa does not guarantee and is not a substitute, for a certified fire-rated light fitting.

So, in the lobby, hallways and stairwells, non fire-rated lighting products could have been installed, at the expense of certified fire-rated products. In reality, 99.9% of all LED panels fittings installed in the UK, will not have a certified fire rating.

There is also a general belief across the industry that a concrete ceiling obviates the necessity to fit certified fire-rated products, given that the ceiling above will act as a barrier to the spread of fire. Well, looking at Grenfell Towers, this appears to clearly not be the case, given the sheer speed of the advancement of the fire.

Pyropanel is the UK’s only 30-minute fire-rated LED panel in the UK and we’re calling for the Government and Local Authorities to force through legislation that ensures landlords, architects and contractors only ever use certified fire-rated products, to try and stop the spread of fire, and not rely on the fact that a concrete structure will provide a sufficient barrier to save lives.

Fire is a killer – we have seen that borne out yesterday – so we need to do EVERYTHING we can to stop the spread of fire, offer people a safe environment to live and work and give the emergency services at least some chance of saving lives of people caught up in terrible events like Grenfell Towers.

If you would like to talk to us about any aspect of fire safety or where lighting fits in with that, please email safe@pyropanel.co.uk or call 0844 251 2382

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