19138 – High Rise

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Ref: FOI/19138

RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 REQUEST

West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 9th October 2019.

Please find below a summary of our findings.

Request 1

We are collecting information about what measures Fire and Rescue Services are taking to address the risk of serious compartmentation failure in high rise residential buildings (HRRBs) since the Grenfell Tower Fire of 14 June 2017.

Below is the information we would like to obtain from you under the Freedom of Information Act.

Evacuation

Any evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs;

Any actual or proposed amendments to existing evacuation plans, policies or procedures for HRRBs, since 14 June 2017.

Any national guidance (since 14 June 2017) on the obligations, under the FSO, of the responsible person of a HRRB to devise an evacuation plan for residents in the event of  fire;

Any national guidance (since 14 June 2017), to assist your FRS to devise an evacuation plan for a HRRB involved in fire?

Please provide electronic copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes) 

Response 1

Evacuation plans may exist attached to individual HRRBs as part of the West Midlands Fire Service Site Specific Risk Identification processbut these may not exist for every HRRB site. There are over 500 HRRB properties that would need to be manually checked and this would exceed the appropriate limit as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Therefore this part of your request is refused under Section 12 of the FOIA . The permitted time is approximately 18.25 hours to gather the information or to confirm or deny that it is held. I have attached a Fees Notice as required in the FOIA and we can proceed with establishing whether we hold the information once this is paid.

Evacuation plans may exist attached to individual HRRBs as part of the West Midlands Fire Service Site Specific Risk Identification process but these may not exist for every HRRB site. There are over 500 HRRB properties that would need to be manually checked to ascertain whether they had been amended and this would exceed the appropriate limit as defined in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). Therefore this part of your request is refused under Section 12 of the FOIA . The permitted time is approximately 18.25 hours to gather the information or to confirm or deny that it is held. I have attached a Fees Notice as required in the FOIA and we can proceed with establishing whether we hold the information once this is paid.

Guidance has been published by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and is available on their website at the link below. Therefore this information is exempt under Section 21 of the FOIA as it is reasonably available to you : https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Grenfell-Tower

Guidance has been published by the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC) and is available on their website at the link below. Therefore this information is exempt under Section 21 of the FOIA as it is reasonably available to you:

https://www.nationalfirechiefs.org.uk/Grenfell-Tower

Request 2

Pre-determined attendance (PDA)

Your current PDA for fighting fires in HRRBs;

Any actual or proposed amendments to your PDA for HRRBs, since 14 June 2017.

Please provide copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes)

Response 2

West Midlands Fire Service uses dynamic risk assessment to mobilise resources to incidents based upon intelligence received throughout an incident. These decisions are based upon safe systems of work for firefighters and information gathered from other sources internal and external to the organisation. The level of response is adjusted to match the level of risk and in line with our Operational Risk Assessment.

Request 3

Multiple FSGs

Any operational policies/training for dealing with multiple fire survival guidance calls (FSGs)

Any actual/proposed amendments to FSG policies/training, since 14 June 2017.

Please provide copies of relevant documentation (previous/new policies and/or evidence of proposed changes)

Response 3

Plans, policies and procedures in relation to FSG are continually under review as part of organisational assurance or in response to significant events. Stakeholders across the organisation, are consulted as part of this process.

The information within our plans, policies or procedures is designed predominantly to create safe systems of work that protect our firefighters and members of the community. Disclosure of information about detailed processes, procedures and techniques into the public domain may impede fire fighters when dealing with an incident. This could pose risk to firefighters and members of the community alike. Therefore this information is exempt under Section 38 of FOIA.

There is a public interest in ensuring that processes and procedures exist to protect firefighters and members of the community but this is not served by releasing detailed operational plans into the public domain.

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF

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