Kemerovo and Grenfell – a tale of 2 responses

Not going to go through everything but some points, I think I previously mentioned that someone at work I know lost a friend. His brother who survived was the one in the media, more on that shortly.

Grenfell tragedy occurred. Hundreds of thousands of donations – financial and non financial poured in. Churches, mosques and others provided immediate temporary soace to eat and sleep. A group of North Kensington lawyers provided free legal advice. Firefighters were mostly praised for their response (which follows closure of many fire stations across London) and they have continued fundraising by running in London marathon and other challenges. Jeremy Corbyn met survivors and families, emergency services, community leaders and volunteers and called for local apartment blocks not used by wealthy owners to be temporarily allocated for housing. Sadiq Khan called for a public inquiry. Theresa May visited the area but refused to talk with any survivors. Only after an outcry, a selected group went to Downing Street.

The so called public inquiry with an all white panel has terms which have been written in a way that will not help bring justice to survivors and families and let the developers of the cladding which caused the spread so quickly contributing to many deaths off the hook. Lawyers are still trying to help, families have not been rehoused locally as promised, some going as far as Lancashire.

The Conservative Kensington council have repeatedly obstructed any attempt to bring justice and are still not delivering the assistance they were supposed to provide. There has been some analysis and construction work on similar properties to replace the cladding.

My colleague’s friend’s brother who attracted media attention was trying to help bring his parents over from Syria and because he was on television and other media, the Home Office said yes of course they can come, we have compassionate circumstances. They have come and are doing ok in spite of everything. However I have heard of another family in exactly same situation but not in the public eye and the Home Office refused visas.

The inquiry has not held any public hearings yet and it has been nearly a year. Only after pressure the US accountancy firm with a history of fraud and other dodgy dealing – KPMG , have now been removed.

Obviously I know very little about Kemerovo tragedy but a post from Geohistory has reported from Russian tv and media coverage http://geohistory.today/tv-news-in-russia-kemerov-and-telegram-april-2018/ One of the first things shared on social media was Russians lining up to give blood donations and many toys and flowers at embassies across the world, whilst heartless politicians decided it was a good day to expel diplomats. As with Grenfell, it is the public that express solidarity, sympathy and try in small ways to help. There were reports of public anger at the Russian government. Vladimir Putin visited, laid flowers and spoke with some survivors in hospital. He met with regional government and has also set up inquiry but alongside this – emergencies inspectors are checking other sites.

As with Grenfell, they have found out irregularities in fire safety tests and inspections. There has been more immediate action by Russian government in response which alongside public anger has removed a regional governor, clearly found evidence of criminality by fire inspectors and responders.

One of the things I noticed within a day was the Russian government promise of financial and other assistance to families, survivors and e.g. those who will have lost jobs.

Apparently Maria Zhakarova cried for days. From the article:

What is happening here? These are not combat actions, not methane emission. People came to relax, children…We speak about our demographic problem, and yet we lose so many people. And because of what? Because of criminal negligence, because of slovenliness. The doors were closed. This is outrageous! Even if the fire hadn’t occurred. And with the fire, I don’t know what it is! In past history, there were gas chambers. It turns out, that this is a very similar situation because people suffocated. An investigation team will work on this, one hundred people. They will go through the whole chain, starting from with those who gave permission to those in charge of monitoring security, private security firms, those who were sitting there and did not press the button in time. From the moment of the re-registration of the building and the issuance of permits,”

Yes, media is biased in both countries. This isn’t about point scoring but of recognition of how politicians have reacted and responded in both avoidable tragedies.

On a separate note, I have worked in a lot of places so done a lot of fire safety training. One of the best blended training was delivered in virtual classrooms at Oxford Health NHS. As it was NHS it is mandatory with scheduled refresher so it was run weekly and staff would attend online for an hour, once a year minimum.

I can’t find Gary’s company details so can’t show an example but the Trust had a high level of risk due to being a hospital but also having inpatient mental health facilities on site. What Gary did throughout his presentation was empathise and make people laugh based on years of practical experience inspecting facilities. He tried to stop the apathy when hearing weekly fire tests – although apathy didn’t exist for front line staff. He always scored highly in training evaluations.

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