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Mass Evacuation in Camden: Sensible or Panic Measure?


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Camden council are evacuating (strongly suggesting residents leave) 800 homes as they fear the risk of cladding similar to Grenfell is too high.

So is this a sensible precaution by a caring council or one likely to spread panic and cause absolute distress to many for little gain?

The LFB have highlighted concerns re the cladding and gas supply safety (no details yet). The Brigade could, if concerned, issue a Article 31 Prohibition Notice which would close the blocks to all. They have not done so. So it is obviously a Camden initiative 

Camden have told evacuees that they will need to move for a period of between 2 to 4 weeks? Really? They are going to remove nearly 90 storeys of cladding and insulation in 28 days (3.2 floors per day??). Who here believes that can happen?

The flats were re-clad 10 years ago. In the last 5 years there have been 2 x fires in one of the blocks which have both been contained with no external spread

I accept I do not understand the full issues here but I get a feeling this is over-the-top risk assessing on a gargantuan scale

What about reducing the overall risk of fire by introducing extraordinary control measures - if necessary backed up by court orders to gain entry to flats against the residents wishes in necessary:

1) LFB home fire safety risk assessments to all flats.

2) fixed electrical inspections and PAT testing in all flats

3) gas soundness tests to individual flats, or isolation of gas supply to block

4) moving vulnerable persons only from the building - such as disabled/mobility impaired residents who have to use the lift 

5) regular fire safety patrols to check fire doors, housekeeping, means of escape, parking & access etc

6) a dedicated maintenance team on call 24/7 to make repairs as necessary

7) additional cctv (internal & external) and other security improvements - including 24/7 security staff on site to reduce arson risk

8) 'training' courses for residents and setting up a one stop advice centre in a portacabin in the site (manned by LFB staff)

9) twitter page, website and 0800 telephone line for residents with latest news, advice and information

I get the feeling that this mass evacuation is more political and litigation prevention by a scared council than it is a fire safety measure

What do you think?

Have you additional information? (PM me if you rather not go public)

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I have been there (where haven't I been lately) since 8pm and have only just got it (4am). I can't comment obviously, but this was very much within Article 31 territory with multiple issues. Once faced with that, Camden asked if they could evacuate instead of having the A31 issued for the blocks. There were two LFB Fire Engineers on site, so it was a very detailed assessment. The decison wet out of LFB right up to the PM who agreed.

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Thanks Steve

Very interesting. I hope Camden/LFB (& not you) will be able to provide some more details in due course to explain why this extraordinary action was sanctioned so that others living in absolute fear can be reassured - even just a little - that as they tuck their kids in tonight, they will see them in the morning. This is the level of anxiety some are faced with right now, aided and abetted by scurrilous media reporting.

Londoners and the rest of the population trust the LFB so much more than the lying politicians and excitable media. After all, who would you trust to babysit your kids? May or Cotton?  So a comms campaign by the fire service would go a long way to push that reassurance

Also,  I know this might not be possible to answer here, but I am intrigued by Camden's view that the evacuation will only last 2 to 4 weeks

I assume that the agreed action plan does not require cladding removal then as surely that is not possible in that time frame?

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25 minutes ago, Dyson said:

just seemed odd it happened on a friday evening?

I know what you mean. Its difficult to find any fire safety officers past 13:30 any day of the week.

They must of searched half of the golf courses in greater London to find that many fire safety senior officers on.a Friday evening ?

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I have discovered that for the last two+ years, the findings of the fire risk assessment reviews for the now infamous Camden blocks have highlighted fire stopping and other issues that are now being so hastily repaired.

Coming on top of a virtual Prohibition notice (Camden's acceptance of voluntary action plani in lieu of a prohibition notice), a prosecution and huge fine is very likely.

Who could argue  with the very caring leader of Camden Council when she justifies the panic evacuation of thousands of residents by saying the Council had no choice to take immediate action as they knew their tenants were at risk.

Its a shame they weren't so caring and immediate when they were told by their professional risk assessors two years ago of high risk issues

I wish the media would ask the right questions and obtain copies of the FRAs. The residents should be aware they've been let down by their now 'caring' council

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