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Manchester Arena Inquiry


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I have been watching some of the Manchester Arena Inquiry online and have read some transcripts and as expected it is not looking great in terms of the fire service (lack of) response - in fact its a bloody disgrace and I am amazed  some officers have still got a job.

There is no doubt that significant and unfathomable mistakes were made by a few, which created unprecedented delays and stress for the many, including the injured their loves ones, witnesses and fellow fire crews alike. Fresh on the heels of the Grenfell Inquiry where the LFB largely got massively unnecessary bad press, this second kicking of the UK F&RS is very damaging

That's it, I will say no more but would be interested to hear from others, especially those who may have been involved (notwithstanding that the Inquiry is ongoing and care needs to be taken)

Lastly, spare a thought for one GMFRS FF. He was part of a crew that was being held back from the incident while managers sat on their hands. He received a phone call from his wife, a paramedic on the incident ground. She confirmed a nail bomb had been detonated and fatalities and 60 casualties were involved.

Can you imagine the stress that guy was under. He would have shared his colleagues frustration about being held back whilst social media footage showed the carnage. Now he had the added worry of his wife being there........ just awful

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One thing I read which particularly concerned me was that once they had finally sent a 3 pump attendance the OIC immediately made it up and was denied his make up request. 

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1 hour ago, BurtMacklin said:

one thing I read which particularly concerned me was that once they had finally sent a 3 pump attendance the OIC immediately made it up and was denied his make up request. 

Back in the 1970s a similar decision by an ACO led to him taking early retirement rather than face prosecution for obstructing  the OiC's powers of what is now Section 44.

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Maybe I'm going to take a bit of flack for this, but well it is what it is...

I often feel as a service(s) we are reluctant to be held accountable and that to me is more worrying than any mistakes that have been made. My day job is of a safety critical nature and whilst we plan most operations to a high level of certainty, things can, will and do go wrong. But what we do after the event is to regroup, debrief and ensure that the root causes for those events or actions can't happen again. It seems to me that we are often reluctant to stop and take a look at ourselves and follow that process.

Mistakes were made prior to and during both incidents and that's par with the course, these are low occurrence, high risk, high stress and time critical events. But we should be honest and ensure we put the measures in place to stop them happening again.

Though, that being said, being a commercial operation, if the decision making shown by the team/members was found to be at fault, then that team won't be brought back for another job. Something the private sector really isn't very good at.

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In short Highlander, we did and still came very short of what was demanded. 

7 months prior we held a large MTA exercise and still failed on the night we were needed the most.

Vema11 hits the nail squarely on the head and I bet there's not many in the service who disagrees with him. 

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I think its important to acknowledge that numerous individuals involved in this incident - both on scene and in supporting roles - did exactly what was asked of them and more. So lets be careful with our language as lots of GMFRS people worked bloody hard that night and with competence. Watching & reading transcripts and evidence from the Inquiry proves that beyond any doubt.

I work in a highly safety critical role (not a fire service employer) that if it were all to go belly up, it would be very visible and newsworthy. I expect I would also find myself in an Inquiry hot seat, so have been intrigued by the questioning in this and other recent Inquiries.

I am not suggesting for one minute that the emergency protocols my team and I have installed to deal with an emergency would never go wrong, but we have written in systems to avoid the possibility of failure if one person (or a small number of staff) make an error. I cannot go into detail here (as its too dull!) but in the same way a pilot and co pilot carry out checks together and the strongest drugs are often administered by two medical practitioners, our systems have parts where critical decisions are double checked either at the time or asap later.

For example, our 'Gold' has an additional role where a sub group stand back and consider the incident log live - albeit a little delayed manner. They assess decisions against set incident aims, our own procedures and incident information they have been briefed on. Where they find anything they are not entirely happy about, they directly question the loggist and if that doesn't answer their enquiry, to the chair of the crisis management group (CMG - Silver). Similarly subject matter experts can be consulted by Gold. So if a fire they might ask me, or if a building power defect, a technical estates manager. 

During incidents and exercises, the system can be a bloody pain if the personalities of those in Gold are rather panicky, as 101 questions can result. But when it runs well, its like having a trusted mate next to you on the fireground with his or her arm around you whispering "oi mate, have you considered ...... A,B or C?'.  Now that's not a bad place to be. It also means that we can mop up mistakes or decisions with potential for a mistake within 10 to 20 mins of it being made. 

The Manchester Arena incident seems to have gone wrong for GMFRS by the actions of a few - NOT the many. Its clear that a more resilient approach is required - I guess its already happened - but lets not forget the great work by many when we are criticising a handful of staff who got it very wrong indeed.

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Yes of course Messy, when the time came those who attended worked very hard in very difficult circumstances both GMFRS and other agencies as they do everyday.

My comment was merely echoing what those on the pumps and other officers have thought/talked about when I've been out and about on detached duties.

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I certainly don't mean to take away from the work done by the guys and girls on the ground, I'm sure they would have given it their best. It seems they were let down by management both before and during the incidents. I just feel we miss the opportunities to honestly and openly discuss and learn from these events.  

Edited by Carl
Quote removed as its a direct quote of the previous post.
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One of the key areas where the response to the incident went wrong centres around the fire and ambulance service not been told Operation Plato had been declared. The person at the centre of this is being investigated over his evidence: 

Ex-GMP Officer Investigated

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