The full implementation of this policy is dependent on the completion of recommendation 33.22a, that the government develop national guidelines for carrying out partial or total evacuations of high-rise residential buildings, which is in progress.
In December 2019, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) published the reviewed guidance that provides information for fire and rescue services to change evacuation strategies and perform mass rescue, based on advice and information from fire and rescue service leads. This has undergone significant scrutiny and been subject to external review by health and safety consultants.
In March 2023, the NFCC surveyed all fire and rescue services (with the exception of the LFB) in England about their progress against the recommendations. In response to recommendation 33.22b:
- 88% of services (38 services) have completed the recommendation and have reported that they have reviewed their policies relating to evacuation, instigated changes, and trained personnel. This represents a 16% increase from previous NFCC survey completed in August 2022.
- 2% of services (one service) has reported they have made changes and trained staff but have not completed assessments
- 9% of services (4 services) have made the necessary policy changes but are still training its staff. No date is given for completion of training
On performing training exercises relating to evacuation:
- 86% of services (37 services) have trained and assessed all staff in evacuation policies since the Grenfell Tower fire and have conducted training exercises to embed learning from these policies.
- 9% of services (4 services) have trained all staff but have not performed live exercises in a high-rise building.
- 5% of services (two services) are in the process of training and exercising staff.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has reported that recommendation 33.22b has been completed.
The LFB has developed an Evacuation and Rescue policy (published on 31st March 2021), alongside the revised Fire Survival Guidance policy. The Evacuation and Rescue policy has been shared with the NFCC’s High Rise Firefighting working group to support sector wide learning.
Training on the new policy has been provided to all operational staff via computer-based training packages and face to face training for Watch and senior officers. This training is reinforced by guided learning exercises for station-based staff.