On June 14 2017, the UK watched as flames destroyed the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington, Chelsea, after it is believed a fire started in a fridge-freezer.

Since the tragedy, controversies and questions have dominated discussions. Some are social: who were the victims, how have they been treated since, what does Grenfell Tower tell us about attitudes in the UK? Some are political: have government and authority responses been adequate, how did regulations allow this situation to occur, has enough been done by local and national authorities to help? Some are scientific: how did the fire spread, what was so important about the cladding and construction? The questions asked have difficult answers, but they are conversations that must be had.

Within the fire service, we have our own duty to consider how the Grenfell Tower fire could have happened, and more importantly, out of the flames of Grenfell suggest a progressive, inclusive path to a fire safe future. At FIRE Magazine, this is what we hope can be achieved.


FIRE editor Andrew Lynch believes:

‘It’s a whole movement, a complete virtuous circle and we hold all the answers; the solution for a fire safe society, between us… FIRE’s approach is clear: an integral approach unifying sector specialisms and drawing stakeholders together to articulate the direction required to ensure adequate fire protection’.

There is not one clear solution, but we believe our upcoming Congress will help create a route map to the fire safe future we need. Andrew believes that in order to challenge the complacency of successive administrations that has developed over time, a ‘unified whole that could convey complex fire safety issues in a coherent and accessible voice’ is essential.


Out of the flames: a fire safe future after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower aims to advocate this unified path, and we hope you will join us there. It is not driven by a political agenda, as many discussions will be, but instead is influenced by fire safety.



Why will the Congress be such a useful event?

Influential and authoritative speakers

We recently announced that London Fire Brigade’s Director of Safety and Assurance Steve Apter will be providing a Keynote Address on behalf of London Fire Brigade. Steve led the strategic response arrangements to the Grenfell major incident, so can provide an extremely insightful and authoritative account.

We will also be joined by some of the leading figures in UK fire prevention and protection. Iain Cox, Chair of the Business Sprinkler Alliance, will offer his analysis of how we can make fire safety future proof, which will be followed by a response from the National Fire Chief’s Council, given by CFO Steve Edgar, prevention lead, and CFO Mark Hardingham, protection lead. Other speakers include Dave Sibert of the Fire Brigades Union, who will discuss combustible cladding and wider issues. Panel discussions will cover Future Proofing Fire Safety, including President of the Fire Sector Federation Brian Robinson, who has recently advocated the need for a National Fire Safety Agency, and Vision for a Fire Safe Future, including the Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Roy Wilsher and Chair of the Fire Sector Federation Paul Fuller.


Frank discussions

With public enquiries and police investigations working to consider the wider response to Grenfell, honest discussions have been the focus. The Congress will allow frank discussions within the fire sector. The purpose is not to cast blame, but instead to honestly record what happened, and to consider what can be done to prevent it happening again.


Looking forward

By bringing such reputable people together as speakers, alongside the attendance of delegates from across the country and across the span of the fire sector, Out of the flames: a fire safe future after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower will bring people together in order to look forward, and learn from the tragedy of June. We cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore our responsibilities, including ours at FIRE Magazine, and this event offers the sector the chance to look forward, and achieve a fire safe future.


Congress: Out of the flames: a fire safe future after the tragedy of Grenfell Tower is being held on November 17th 2017, at the Caledonian Club London. Subscribers to FIRE Magazine, and members of the Fire Sector Federation and FIRESE can receive 20% off tickets, and tickets start at £172+VAT. If you would like to join us you can book your place here.