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Source: (consider it) Thread: Warnings & scaremongering
Sipech
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Drawing together a couple of recent, tragic, news events from London, there seems to be a thread that links them. At least one of the men who committed mass murder on London Bridge had, it seems, been brought to the attention of the authorities as a potential risk.

Today's fire an Grenfell Tower, was warned about in this frighteningly prescient piece written by a local action group.

In both cases, it looks like signs were missed which, had they been heeded, could have averted the devastating outcomes we've seen. It makes me think: what warnings are we currently ignoring?

But to heed every warning and take every precaution leads to gullibility, where we may be open to every piece of scaremongering propagated by those with vested interests. Though not every warning is scaremongering, it is easy to dismiss genuine warnings as being scaremongering. One need only look at the Brexit and Scottish Independence referendums to see how it can work either way.

If our concerns are genuine and well-founded, and those we are seeking to warn are dismissive of arguments and evidence, how is it best to go about persuading them that concerns and risks are genuine, rather than scaremongering?

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Schroedinger's cat

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I think there are two different things here - although related.

1. If the residents of a tower block warn about serious health and safety problems, they should be taken note of and acted on. This government has done a lot to make landlords less - rather than more - responsible for the safety of rental premises.

At the same time, while we can surmise, we don't yet know the details of the causes of this fire and why it spread so tragically. There APPEARS to have been a failure in design and process here (it was only refurbished last year), and neglect for profit. If so, this is a warning that should have been heeded, and wasn't.

2. The terrorist alerts. The problem here is that I believe the police get a lot of "alerts" about "potential terrorists" (some of which are ludicrously racist). They have 200 on their watchlist, and they cannot keep track of them all, because resources have been cut. Rather, they could keep track on them all, at the cost of not investigating other crimes, not doing their other duties.

What we see here is that we are in a more dangerous world now than we were in the past. That is a result of many things, including governmental policy across the world. And yet, for 40 years, we have lived with the possibility of Nuclear war. We have lived with the "possibility" of dying for a stupid reason for a long time.

As someone said, "constant vigilance if the price of freedom" We are putting less money into constant vigilance, so we are losing some of our freedom.

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Boogie

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Heads will roll - but will fire safety be improved?

Government has cut council funding to the bone, so they are ultimately responsible.

From the Grenfell action group blog "In the light of this official report, which is strongly suggestive of years of ongoing neglect and criminal negligence of the fire safety systems at Grenfell Tower, we would suggest that the managing authorities need to tak a long hard look at themselves, and how they manage this estate. We would also strongly suggest that they seriously reconsider their earlier facile dismissal of the concerns we raised regarding their lax attitude to the emergency access arrangements."

They couldn't have been clearer.

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mr cheesy
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"Constant vigilence" is a nonsense term. One can't be vigilant about everything all of the time, that's ridiculous.

I am no kind of fire or engineering expect, so am not going to speculate as to what happened here. But I do note that firefighters with long experience seem to be saying that something very strange as gone on here as it is totally different to anything they've seen before.

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arse

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Boogie

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Guess who was in charge of fire regs at the time?

Another 'ooops' for Theresa May.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Boogie

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Echoes of Trump's dislike of regulation -

quote:
Ronnie King, formerly the chief fire officer and now honorary secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on fire safety and rescue, said the regulations “badly need updating” and “three successive ministers have not done it”.

He told the Press Association: “It’s sad that we always have to go to stable-door legislation. Lakanal House wasn’t enough deaths to trigger off a major public inquiry. It just went to an inquest, there was no formal report on it.”

On the delay to the review of building regulations, King said: “My own thinking is there was the red tape challenge and they don’t really want to put regulation on to businesses, adding a burden. It’s one of those that if you bring in a new regulation, you have got to give three up to get it.”



[ 14. June 2017, 15:40: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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lilBuddha
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Whatever the cause of the fire, the Grenfell Tower warning and terrorist warnings are entirely separate subjects. Other that that the same interests are likely to behind reduction of protection.

On terrorist warnings. Death and destruction are a means, not an end. Disruption is the key. Even with proper funding, it would be impossible to investigate every reported threat to the same degree.
The questions to be asked is are current practices the best they could be. There will be more incidences. This is inevitable, between mistakes and the lack of Precogs, people will slip through.
For the current situation, reducing the numbers as much as possible si the goal.
Long term, it is getting rid of the bastards who fuck up the policies which feed recruitment.

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If it's not here soon, I might be done
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I am no kind of fire or engineering expect, so am not going to speculate as to what happened here. But I do note that firefighters with long experience seem to be saying that something very strange as gone on here as it is totally different to anything they've seen before.

Precedents (thread includes link to discussion of this fire, here).

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
Precedents (thread includes link to discussion of this fire, here).

Those threads are properly scary for reasons I don't even want to spell out.

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arse

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Ethne Alba
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(thanks mr cheesy)
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Uncle Pete

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I think that the cause of the fire is already clear.

Super rich developers maximizing their profits with the aid of their cronies running the country for their own benefits who sign off dangerous building practices with a nod and a wink. All this on the backs of the poor and vulnerable sectors who point out deficiencies and are ignored because the only solutions are not profitable. (Thank you mr cheesy for the link to those edifying pictures)

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mr cheesy
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That was Euty's links not mine. But do beware reading them if you are easily terrified.

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arse

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Uncle Pete

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Yes, and yes.

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Even more so than I was before

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Penny S
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I seem to recall an air disaster where the fire was attributed to the flammability of aluminium, discussed at the time because many people did not think of a metal as inflammable. (Except, if they had had a mad chemistry teacher, magnesium.)

And I have realised I have a few cladding panels on my property, as spacers between windows and beside doors, and they are indeed aluminium with foam in between. They don't communicate with each other, though. Only with the space between the inner plasterboard wall and the outer asbestos tiled wall - steel framed construction.)

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Uncle Pete:
I think that the cause of the fire is already clear.

Super rich developers maximizing their profits with the aid of their cronies running the country for their own benefits who sign off dangerous building practices with a nod and a wink. All this on the backs of the poor and vulnerable sectors who point out deficiencies and are ignored because the only solutions are not profitable. (Thank you mr cheesy for the link to those edifying pictures)

Plus MPs who promise 'reviews' - which means they will do nothing.

If the election were tomorrow there would have been a Labour government in place today.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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The residents had no concern about the cladding as far as I can see. No one did. Despite the precedents which were all non-fatal except Shanghai in which cladding wasn't an issue? As in all technological disasters, we learn after the points of failure. That's why flying is now so safe: systems must not just be redundant but asymmetrically so.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The residents had no concern about the cladding as far as I can see. No one did.

Hard to see why they would, unless they were civil engineers. I expect they were just glad that work was been done on their block.

It seems that some engineers who follow these things have had concerns about the quality of this kind of cladding due to other fires over recent years on similar blocks. It remains to be seen if this means that this disaster could have been avoided.

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arse

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The residents had no concern about the cladding as far as I can see. No one did. Despite the precedents which were all non-fatal except Shanghai in which cladding wasn't an issue? As in all technological disasters, we learn after the points of failure. That's why flying is now so safe: systems must not just be redundant but asymmetrically so.

They had plenty of concerns about a possible fire.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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Again, with no concern about cladding.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The residents had no concern about the cladding as far as I can see. No one did.

Hard to see why they would, unless they were civil engineers. I expect they were just glad that work was been done on their block.

It seems that some engineers who follow these things have had concerns about the quality of this kind of cladding due to other fires over recent years on similar blocks. It remains to be seen if this means that this disaster could have been avoided.

It's not the way we monkeys operate. People die, we learn.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Again, with no concern about cladding.

Martin, please stop. Residents are not experts at cladding, but had general and real concerns about what was being told to them about plans for fires.

Whether they did or didn't worry about the cladding is besides the point.

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arse

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Jane R
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...and it has not yet been formally established that the cladding was responsible for the rapid spread of the fire, though it seems likely.

The residents had expressed many concerns about dangerous wiring and inadequate fire safety, all of which were ignored - or at least, not acted on by those with the power to fix the problems. The fact that none of the residents knew enough about the properties of building materials to question the safety of the cladding is beside the point, and criticising them for not being engineering experts is in poor taste when many have paid with their lives for someone else's profit margin.

Aircraft safety works in the same way: the experts say 'doing this is dangerous', the airline owners complain 'we can't change the way we do things, it would cost too much'... until there's a crash, or a series of crashes, and the government introduces new regulations and forces them to do it. See this book for more details.

Still think cutting red tape is a good idea?

[ 15. June 2017, 12:52: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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mousethief

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Question I haven't seen addressed about this incident so far: don't such blocks have built-in sprinkler systems in the UK? If so did this one deploy?

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Jane R
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They are not required by law (see here) so they are not often installed in social housing. To keep costs down. Hence my comments about 'cutting red tape'.

[ 15. June 2017, 12:59: Message edited by: Jane R ]

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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Question I haven't seen addressed about this incident so far: don't such blocks have built-in sprinkler systems in the UK? If so did this one deploy?

This one didn't. It was built before sprinkler systems were mandatory in new tower blocks.

After a previous fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell in 2009, there was a recommendation that sprinkler systems be installed in all existing tower blocks, but it was deemed too much red tape to enforce it. It thus remained optional, at the discretion of the landlords.

There are currently around 4,000 tower blocks in the UK without sprinklers.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I think too that the dangers of using new materials and methods are not always appreciated.

For instance, when the railways went over from the old "diddley-dum" jointed track to welded track in the 60s and 70s, a move which promoted safety due to the reduction in the number of rail joints which could fracture, they found:

- they hadn't learned enough about the effects of heat expansion;
- they had to learn how best to join up the new sort of track with the old;
- they found that wagons tended to set up a harmonic rolling motion which the old railjoints had prevented.

All these led to accidents and - to use the hackneyed phrase - lessons were learned.

I find a certain parallel between the present disaster and the Armagh train crash of 1889. Before this time everyone had been saying that trains ought to have automatic brakes, but Parliament had dragged its feet on passing legislation. It took the death of dozens of children on an excursion train to make such brakes mandatory. Last night David Amess MP was telling of his frustration at the refusal of Parliament to press ahead with mandating sprinkler syatems even though his Committee had been recommending it for years.

Interestingly, ALL new housing (not just tower blocks) in Wales has had to be sprinkler equipped since January last year - though it's not retrospective. Why are Welsh building regs. different to English ones?.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Me again! I lived in Ipswich till recently. The tallest building in town is "The Mill", mostly residential but with the Dance House underneath. It has never been fully occupied. In 2014 some of the external cladding blew off in a storm: see this, and has still not been replaced.

I notice, rereading the article, that the builders were then concerned about "loose membrane or polystyrene" falling to the ground. No-one has ever mentioned a fire risk - but presumably it's there and the residents will now be worried.

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Martin60
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Who's criticizing the residents? Even with sprinklers the cladding would have gone up just the same.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Who's criticizing the residents? Even with sprinklers the cladding would have gone up just the same.

I'm sorry Martin - are you actually a qualified structural engineer or are you just adding some uninformed opinion to this?

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arse

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Martin60
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It's the cladding. Obviously.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
It's the cladding. Obviously.

Oh ok. Stand down expert engineers, fire investigators! Don't bother with a public inquiry!

No need, Martin has spoken.

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arse

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Martin60
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Reality staring the world in the face all over the BBC from 01:00 yesterday says so and in all of the precedents involving CLADDING. Enquire away. It's the cladding.

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Love wins

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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The news here stated: no sprinklers, not enough stairwells, no smoke alarms. Are there no regulations for minimum safety equipment, building design and retrofitting? No inspections? Smoke detectors not being installed is criminal negligence causing death in event of fire deaths here. If the building hadn't been condemned until proper standards are met.

Cladding isn't a sprinkler system and cauliflower isn't bacon.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Jane R
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Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Why are Welsh building regs. different to English ones?
...because the Welsh Assembly has less sympathy for property developers complaining about Red Tape?

Yes, if the cladding is responsible for the rapid spread of the fire the building would have gone up just the same. But many fire safety experts have already pointed out that a sprinkler system would have enabled more of the residents to get out.

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mr cheesy
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[x-post to Martin]

So there is no possibility that the issues residents brought up in the past had an impact on this fire. Because you said so.

Excuse me whilst I reserve judgment until someone who actually has some expertise beyond watching a 24-hour news channel has done a proper investigation.

[ 15. June 2017, 13:35: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Martin60
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There is no evidence, no.

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
There is no evidence, no.

What are you talking about? I mean - seriously.

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arse

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Jane R
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There's a huge smoking ruin in the middle of London today - doesn't that count as evidence? To say nothing of all the bodies, some of which have not yet been recovered from the building.
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Martin60
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It's the cladding.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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The cheap PLASTIC cladding.

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Love wins

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Jane R
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[Roll Eyes] And that's the only important point, because once a building catches fire there's nothing more to be done but stand back and watch it burn? No need to rescue anything from inside, or buy time for the residents to escape?
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Martin60
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Not when you've coated the 24 storey building in polyethylene, with a marginal alarm system (not mentioned prior?), not really, no.

[ 15. June 2017, 13:55: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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Love wins

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mr cheesy
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For Martin

Everyone else: let's not get sidetracked into playing the thread by Martin's rules.

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arse

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Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

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And what are they mate?

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Posts: 17006 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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It seems to me that big business hates regulation. Why? No doubt it eats into their shareholders huge profits.

What is fire and safety regulation for? To protect people. All those who call this 'political correctness' simply care more for profits than they do for their fellow human beings.

Trump's America is all for removing regulation for exactly the same reasons.

[Disappointed]

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12737 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
# 13538

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This says it better than I did.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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I haven't yet read Monbiot's article.

But I did read the Grenfell Action Group's blog yesterday. No, they don't mention cladding (why should they have done? They had no reason to believe it was dangerous. And they wouldn't have known if it was the same stuff used in Paris/Dubai or not).

However they did criticise management (many times), poor parking enforcement which restricted fire brigade access, non-working extinguishers and lots of other things. Sadly they were pleased when the safety instructions - which ultimately proved lethal - were finally put up.

Also: we're all blaming the cladding, probably rightly. What we may be forgetting is that even aluminium has a fairly low burning temperature, although much higher than the plastic.

This disaster (like many) is surely a combination of poor regulation, bad management, inadequate maintenance and cutting corners. If any one of those had been better, the result would not have been as catastrophic.

[ 15. June 2017, 15:53: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Jane R
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# 331

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The other point to note is that the fires in Dubai (in several buildings, including the unfortunately named Torch Skyscraper) did not result in any loss of life. Because, and I quote, "the design and construction of the buildings allowed firefighters to battle the blaze and residents to evacuate via smoke-free, fire-free safety zones." [from the BBC, here ]

Now, granted Grenfell Tower was built last century and building design has improved since then; but if it was not possible to make it safe according to 21st century standards it should have been condemned. Not "refurbished". And given that the fire alarms don't seem to have worked, it could certainly have been made safer than it was.

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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Even BBC radio is doing it now: 100s might have died in a terrible fire. Now let's talk about rockstar gestures.

A bomb explodes and a terrible terrorist outrage turns the news into wall-to-wall seriousness. But somehow a terrible incident in a block of flats mostly inhabited by non-white people is suddenly not really that important.

Sickening.

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arse

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Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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Mr Cheesy - just in response to you "constant vigilance" comment, I think I would understand it as being that we are all under watch all of the time, and that is how we get our concept of freedom.

At the same time, it can be applied to the Grenfell tower fire - that we were not vigilant enough about the rules and regulation (and so about the lawmakers). I think it just means that we cannot relax and just let things happen if we want freedom - freedom to live if nothing else.

I think, in the end, the cladding will be shown to have been responsible for the spread of the fire. What started it may be a different matter. If there had been sprinklers, that may have stopped the fire very early.

And reading that thread that Eutychus linked to, the idea of cladding a building in something that can be lit by a firework is incredibly frightening.

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Blog
Music for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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