Grenfell: Drip-drip of revelations exposes UK complacency following decades of fire-safety progress

Photo: Brandon Butterworth under CC4.0 Until this year, fire deaths in England and Wales had been falling steadily for three decades. Between 2004 and 2014 fire deaths fell by 40%. Both in its sophistication and implementation, the fire-safety discipline has improved beyond measure since the 1980s.

Rules are now in place that you hardly need a degree in fire engineering to recognise as basic common sense. Their absence 30 years ago betrays a now shocking disregard for fire risk. Just consider that smoking was permitted in train carriages until 1984 and on London underground platforms until 1987, with a trial ban made permanent following the Kings Cross fire that killed 31 people and injured 100. And the circumstances surrounding the fire that killed 56 football supporters at Bradford City s Valley Parade stadium on 11 May 1985 are unbelievable. The stand that caught fire was made of timber and this at a time when supporters were allowed to smoke freely on the terraces. More incomprehensibly still, litter had been allowed to pile up beneath the stand a ready-made bonfire just awaiting ignition. A copy of the Bradford Telegraph and Argus was found, dated 4 November 1968. Such tragedies prompted the authorities to take health and safety and fire safety rather more seriously and fire deaths have been falling ever since. Small wonder that a government committed to slashing the deficit saw the fire service as an obvious target for cuts.

The firefighter s role was also expanded to encompass traffic accidents, terror attacks and major floods. We might have been full of post-Empire, pre-Brexit anxieties about our economic status and cultural identity, but we were good at fire safety and health and safety. While hundreds of workers have died in the construction of facilities for the Qatar World Cup, not a single fatality was recorded in the building of London 2012 venues. When a series of fires broke out in tall buildings dotting the skyline in Dubai in 2015 and 2016, many in the UK might have sneered at the emirate s complacency over fire standards. And yet, despite their frequency, not a single person died in those blazes. By horrific contrast, the death toll from the Grenfell blaze, though still not finalised, will surely represent the worst loss of life in a single fire in living memory. We are as a nation much more humble about our fire safety record since 14 June 2017. If the UK government forgot about the Lakanal disaster all too readily, it will be harder to expunge this one from the collective memory. The harrowing stories of people throwing children out of windows on upper level floors are not easily forgotten.

And the charred remains of Grenfell fire, visible from miles around, stand as a lasting monument to the complacency, incompetence and disregard of so many involved in the protection and management of social housing. But if others had been surprised that such a thing could happen, those in the industry were less so. Many voices in the fire industry had been warning, with increasing exasperation, for years about the multiple deficiencies in the fire-safety situation with high-rise residential blocks. More than a month on from the worst fire disaster in living memory, the shortcomings and instances of neglect continue to mount, dispelling any lingering complacency after decades of falling numbers of fire deaths. Timber frame fears The Grenfell fire has brought into sharp focus the materials favoured by the modern construction industry. As the scale of the cladding problem continues to worsen, fire-engineering experts are now warning that timber frames, which are the most popular building method for social housing, are also problematic. Speaking to the Guardian, Arnold Tarling, a chartered surveyor, said: I worry it will take more losses of life before people take this seriously, because nobody ever learns. With buildings like this, everything has to be perfect with the build to make them safe, and then afterwards, he said. At the moment we ve got a lot of modern materials, and a lot of materials being put together, and the regulations just haven t kept up.

The structural issues that once necessitated a 7-8 storey limit on the height of timber-frame buildings are no longer an issue thanks to innovations in construction methods. One timber-frame building planned for construction in east London will have nine floors, while a proposal for a 300-metre-high wood-framed skyscraper. The US, where timber frames are widespread, specifies height and area restrictions and mandates the installation of sprinklers systems neither of which apply in the UK. Timber frames can be perfectly safe. The problem arises when corners are cut, resulting in gaps in the timber frame, which is encased into a sealed void between external bricks and internal plasterboard walls. Jim Glockling, technical director of the Fire Protection Association, told the Guardian: We shouldn t be scaremongering. A properly put-together timber-frame building should perform well but it s about having the methods and quality assurance in place. There s a difference between what you are allowed to do through building regulations and what you should do. Residents themselves can undermine the effectiveness of compartmentalisation by drilling holes in a wall to mount shelves or a TV.

The problems of timber frames extends beyond the theoretical. One blaze caused by a discarded cigarette at flats in Hounslow, west London, destroyed 16 homes and caused the collapse of the building roof. And a Manchester block of flats was demolished six days after a fire broke out so fire crews could be certain it was fully extinguished. Electricity surges It has also emerged that 25 Grenfell Tower residents had experienced electricity power that caused appliances to malfunction, overheat and even emit smoke. Based on documents it had obtained, the BBC reported that some of the problems, reported several years before, had still not been resolved in the months leading up to the fire. The Grenfell fire is believed to have started when a fridge freezer caught fire on the fourth floor. More cladding revelations Given the rapid spread of the fire up the building s exterior, it was immediately apparent that the cladding on Grenfell Tower was woefully inadequate from a fire protection perspective. Worse still, in the days and weeks that followed, government tests revealed that cladding from a huge proportion of high rise residential buildings was similarly deficient. The latest damaging revelation comes from University of Leeds.

A team of researchers has found that burning cladding on Grenfell Tower would have released 14 times more heat than government tests allow. Although contractors who fitted the cladding insist that it passed all regulations, the researchers concluded that the cladding s plastic core would have burned as quickly as petrol . According to data released by French authorities, e cladding would have released 43.2 MJ/kg of heat. The European A2 standard for limited combustibility is 3 MJ/kg. The foam insulation underneath the cladding was, separately, thought to emit around 26 MJ/kg of heat.

Grenfell fallout: The 10 questions that need answers

Grenfell fallout The Grenfell fire has vindicated many in the fire industry s worst fears about several longstanding problems. Not only that, a drip-drip of revelations is revealing a litany of other shortcomings of the council, firefighting equipment and the government s response, among others that have shocked even fire industry insiders. Here are 10 of the most pressing questions that need satisfactory answers if councils, the government, the construction industry and the fire sector can together prevent similar tragedies happening again.

1. Why is the testing of cladding limited to one type of cladding when several other varieties could be combustible too? More than 200 cladding samples taken from high-rise tower blocks in 54 local authorities since the Grenfell tragedy have failed tests, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

However, testing has been limited to aluminium composite material panels those implicated in the Grenfell fire despite the fact that other varieties of cladding may be similarly combustible. Non-ACM cladding systems CEP and Carea are not made of aluminium, but have a near identical construction to the Reynobond ACM panels used on Grenfell Tower. Niall Rowan, COO of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection, told The Independent: If you put this cladding through government testing, it would fail, I would put money on it. They are different materials to the Reynobond but they would all have a similar reaction to fire under the fire test. The government s testing scheme has used a combustibility grade of A2 or higher, requiring that material must at most be of limited combustibility . And yet, noted Rowan, Approved Document B does not require cladding meet this standard. Instead, a lower threshold is set out: class 0 (Euroclass B). These products are all Euroclass B (also known as Class 0), they are not looking to be limited combustibility, and you re going to find them all over the place, on lots of buildings, said Rowan. The Government s gone chasing after cladding and missing the bigger picture they are saying: We want limited combustibility, but the construction industry has been reading building regulations as Euroclass B for years.

This is why we have been pushing for a review of the building regulations for years and why many in the fire sector are very 2. Why was there an apparent deficiency in firefighting equipment? While initial analysis in the wake of the fire focused on cladding, firefighting equipment has come under the spotlight in recent days. A BBC Newsnight investigation uncovered multiple deficiencies, including that a high ladder did not arrive for more than 30 minutes. Also known as an aerial , the ladder would have given firegighters a better chance of extinguishing the blaze had it arrived earlier, a fire expert told the BBC. Low water pressure was also said to hamper efforts to quell the flames, while firefighters reported radio problems. Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: I have spoken to aerial appliance operators in London who attended that incident, who think that having that on the first attendance might have made a difference, because it allows you to operate a very powerful water tower from outside the building onto the building. Are cuts to the fire service to blame for the deficiencies in firefighting equipment? Or was it organisational and procedural?

Perhaps the UK s comparatively and deceptively strong fire safety record had simply bred complacency in making sure enough equipment is available. Find out more on the BBC.

3. Is the privatisation of fire-safety research a problem? Stephen Mackenzie, a fire risk consultant who has spoken out on the Grenfell fire regularly in the media, appears to think so. We ve increasingly seen over the past decades, our fire research provision within the UK, which is internationally renowned, becoming increasingly privatised, he told IFSEC Global during a recent interview. Whether it s a research establishment which is now a charitable trust, whether it s a fire service college which is now under the major government support contracts, or the emergency planning college which is under another support service provider 4. Should COBRA have been convened in the wake of the fire as it is following terror attacks? Mackenzie also believes the UK s worst-ever tower block fire warranted the most serious government response. I think we ve seen a comparison between the Grenfell fire and Finsbury Park terrorist attack, he notes.

Immediately following the Finsbury Park attack, Theresa May convened COBRA. That should have been the case on Thursday the day after the fire, or the latter hours of Wednesday. Convene COBRA, get emergency personnel leads in, coordinate with local authority responders, and have a better response and management of media, and to the families and residents concerns. I feel it could have been sharper, more effective, and then the central government may not have received some of the criticism it has. He adds that there are a number of professional bodies in the UK that can facilitate the transition from the emergency services response into the softer response by local authorities and the government. So it might be another line of enquiry for the coroner report, and also the public inquiry.

5. Why do inquiries take so long in England compared to Scotland? The 2009 fire in Lakanal House, southeast London, that caused the deaths of six people has been oft-cited since the Grenfell fire. The inquiry that followed took four years, much to the anguish of grieving relatives. But even if the lengthy process was justified on the grounds of thoroughness and that is debatable the inaction on so many of its recommendations undermined the whole exercise anyway. The swift conclusion to an inquiry into Scotland s very own tower block tragedy the 1999 fire at Charnock Court certainly shows that such inquiries need not drag on interminably.

That Holyrood seemingly took more decisive action than their English counterparts certainly buttresses this point. Stephen Mackenzie points to the conclusions of the 2000 report into Charnock Court inquiry. While this inquiry did not suggest that the majority of external cladding systems in the UK currently in use pose a serious threat to life safety or property in event of fire, they did go on to add, we do not believe it should take a serious fire in which many people are killed before all reasonable steps are taken towards minimising the fire risk. They then go on to make commentary about the inclusion of standards through the British Standards Institute, revision of the Approved Document B, and the title of that report under the reference was The Potential Risk of Fire Spread in Buildings via External Cladding Systems. We have known about this problem and issue in the fire sector, the House of Commons are aware of it. the Prime Minister s office is now aware of it, I imagine, through the national press and their own technical advisors. Holyrood, it seems, took swift action. Let s look at legislation. We did it in Scotland.

When we reviewed our fire safety legislation we also brought in new building regulations, we brought in new technical handbooks. And I believe, if memory services me correct, the most recent release was either in June 2016 or June 2017. By contrast, Approved Document B the guidance framework for construction regulations in England has not been updated since 2006. I am aware that the building regulations are under constant review. But there seems to be a dichotomy in the turnaround time: four years for the Lakanal report, one year for the Scottish Garnock report. Fire legislation report in Scotland was reviewed in 2005 whereas we appear to be limping on with a very outdated and outmoded document.

6. Are green targets, red tape reduction or austerity to blame? Inevitably, the media s focus has varied depending on the political leanings of the publication in question. While the Daily Mail predictably highlighted the prioritisation of green targets as a potential factor, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn even more predictably blamed austerity. Back in 2015, when the FSF called for a review of Approved Document B, then Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable Julian Brazier said: My concern is that, at a time when building regulations are more prescriptive than ever on issues like energy saving, the basic requirement to make the building resilient to fire appears to have been lost sight of. The fact that Grenfell had just undergone 10m worth of refurbishment to enhance the energy efficiency of the building lends credence to these fears.

A leftwing poet, however, asserted that they put panels, pretty panels on the outside so the rich people who lived opposite wouldn t have to look at a horrendous block. Whether you agree with this sentiment, that the fire alarms still didn t function properly following a 10m refurbishment is nothing short of scandalous. Another strand picked up in the Guardian was the Conservative Party s (and to some extent New Labour s) long-held policy of reducing red tape. George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian that: In 2014, the then housing minister (who is now the immigration minister), Brandon Lewis, rejected calls to force construction companies to fit sprinklers in the homes they built on the following grounds: In our commitment to be the first Government to reduce regulation, we have introduced the one in, two out rule for regulation Under that rule, when the Government introduce a regulation, we will identify two existing ones to be removed In other words, though he accepted that sprinklers are an effective way of controlling fires and of protecting lives and property , to oblige builders to introduce them would conflict with the government s deregulatory agenda. Instead, it would be left to the owners of buildings to decide how best to address the fire risk: Those with responsibility for ensuring fire safety in their businesses, in their homes or as landlords, should and must make informed decisions on how best to manage the risks in their own properties, Lewis said. This calls to mind the Financial Times journalist Willem Buiter s famous remark that self-regulation stands in relation to regulation the way self-importance stands in relation to importance . Case after case, across all sectors, demonstrates that self-regulation is no substitute for consistent rules laid down, monitored and enforced by government. Crucial public protections have long been derided in the billionaire press as elf n safety gone mad . It s not hard to see how ruthless businesses can cut costs by cutting corners, and how this gives them an advantage over their more scrupulous competitors.

7. Why were the lessons from Lakanal ignored? Emily Twinch, a housing policy journalist, recently wrote in the New Statesman: I remember sitting through the Lakanal House super inquest, as it was called, four years ago.

It was amazing how many mistakes by so many people were made. It reminded me of the film Sliding Doors. If only someone had done this, or not done that. Senior managers at Southwark Council were warned by staff that Lakanal House needed a fire risk assessment they were ignored. People carrying out fire risk assessments were given little or no training, and then expected to go out and decide if a tower block was fire safe or not Cladding is being bought up again As Ian Wingfield, ward councillor and cabinet member for housing of Southwark Council at the time said: If nothing was done about it in the intervening 10 years it might have moved from medium to high risk in that period. The inquest into that fire found that panels fitted to the outside of the block in 2006-07 burnt quicker than the original materials Another issue experts are likely to look at when investigating here is the fire compartmentalisation of the building. Regulations say buildings should be designed so that if a fire does break out, it doesn t spread to other flats for at least an hour. After the Lakanal House fire, I did a big freedom of information request investigation into what attention fire brigades and councils were placing on fire safety of tower blocks. The results revealed the answer very little.

It gradually improved in the intervening years But when MPs refused to support, for example, an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill last year that would have made homes fit for habitation in the private sector, it was an indication of how little they prioritised tenants, whether private or social, in their homes.

8. Why was the advice to stay put given for the first two hours of the fire? Advice given by the fire service to stay put inside Grenfell Tower as the fire spread was only changed after nearly two hours, the BBC has reported. The policy was only changed at 2:47am, one hour and 53 minutes after the first emergency call. Based on the ill-founded assumption that the fire can be contained as it should be if suitable passive fire protection is in place the advice was fatal to any that followed it once the fire spread rapidly from the room of origin. With the death toll now still uncertain but estimated by police to stay at around 80, the policy has come under serious fire.

9. Why have calls to retrofit 4,000 tower blocks across the country gone unheeded? Coroners, fire safety professionals and organisations and fire and rescue services have repeatedly urged the government to legislate for the mandatory installation of sprinklers in social housing over many years. In February 2013, in his judgement on a 2010 blaze at a 15-storey block in Southampton, coroner Keith Wiseman recommended that sprinklers be fitted to all buildings higher than 30 metres (98 ft). In that fire, at Shirley Towers, firefighters Alan Bannon and James Shears lost their lives. In a letter to Eric Pickles, then communities and local government secretary, and to Sir Ken Knight, then the government s chief fire and rescue adviser, Wiseman said that obvious precautions to prevent the fire occurring were not taken and highlighted the need for sprinklers in high-rise blocks.

The following month, Lakanal coroner Judge Frances Kirkham submitted similar recommendation to Pickles. In a previous report into the Lakanal House fire, Ken Knight had said that the retrofitting of sprinklers in high-rise blocks was not considered practical or economically viable . However, the evidence she heard at the inquest had prompted Kirkham to say that doing so might now be possible at lower cost than had previously been thought to be the case, and with modest disruption to residents . This is apparently backed up by a successful retrofit at a Sheffield Tower block in 2012. A report on the installation demonstrated that it is possible to retrofit sprinklers into occupied, high-rise, social housing without evacuating residents and that these installations can be fast-tracked.

10. Why must it take mass casualties to trigger serious change? It is a fact of human nature that we do not intuit and respond emotionally to risk in an entirely rational way. So it is that 30% of us are, to some extent, nervous about flying, yet few of us worry about hurtling down the motorway at 80mph despite the fact that you are vastly more likely to die in the latter scenario. There was no shortage of plane crashes before 9/11, yet none of those crashes had been seared into people s nightmares.

The numbers of people avoiding flying duly soared in the wake of the disaster. This was despite the fact that security was tightened following 9/11, reducing the risk of further attacks. In his 2008 book Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear, Dan Garder reflected that the thousands of people who eschewed flights in favour of driving in the wake of 9/11 actually increased their risk of dying. By one estimate, it killed 1,500 people, he wrote. On their death certificates, it says they were killed by car crashes. But, really, the ultimate cause of death was misperceived risk. Fire disasters of the magnitude of Grenfell are mercifully rare. It had been eight years since Lakanal and few remembered it. People were still dying in fires but it rarely made the front pages.

Instead, the media was devoting much of its time to the spate of terror attacks and before that, the countless terror attacks that were foiled. Politicians, believe it or not, suffer from the same askew intuition over risk as ordinary people. Faced with an inbox full of warnings about myriad threats, the Prime Minister inevitably prioritised those that seemed most immediate, most viscerally terrifying and which the media and general public seemed most concerned about. Fuelled by the decades-long trend of falling fire deaths, fire safety had fallen down the list of priorities. That is certainly no longer the case. Undoubtedly, so horrific was the Grenfell fire that something will undoubtedly now be done. Whether enough is done, or whether the right things are done, is another matter. But why must it take a tragedy of such proportions before the problems which were flagged time and again by fire organisations are taken seriously? The risk was always there.

While such fires are rare events, any sober analysis would have revealed that Lakanal could readily happen again and that casualties could be far, far worse.

And yet it is only when the industry s worst fears are realised that the momentum for change can truly build.

You re booked: for being a vigilante apostrophe pedant

Helpful crime? A self-styled grammar vigilante has revealed how he has changed offending shop signs under cover of dark for over a decade. In a less conventional zero-tolerance stance on bad punctuation than Lynne Truss s bestseller Eats, Shoots & Leaves , the man wields a broom handle with two sponges at one end to apply stickers to dozens of missing and misplaced apostrophes on the highest shop banners.

The jury s out on whether the middle-aged vigilante, who won t reveal his identity, has actually committed any crime. He claims his efforts are needed to bring an end to the improper use of English. But even more pedantic critics suggest he should start by correcting his own alias as apostrophes are punctuation marks. I m a grammar vigilante. I do think it s a cause worth pursuing. I have felt extremely nervous. The heart has been thumping, he told the BBC. embedded content Some owners of shops and commercial premises who have fallen foul of the apostrophe vigilante are not bothered by his actions. However, Jason Singh who owns a tailors called Tux & Tails, claims that he potentially faces paying thousands of pounds for his new vinyl sign to be corrected, because the omission of the apostrophe in Gentlemens was corrected.

We think it s paint, and this is vinyl, so if we have to replace it you re looking at a few thousand pounds At the end of the day I d have preferred him to come in and tell me, said Singh, who thinks there may even be grounds for a police complaint. And if his name is revealed, I ll be sending him an invoice for the damages, he added. A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said the force was unaware of any complaints being lodged, but any permanent damage caused could provide grounds for police intervention. Visit Europe s leading security event in June 2017 Visit IFSEC International for exclusive access to every security product on the market, live product demonstrations and networking with thousands of security professionals. From access control and video surveillance to smart buildings, cyber, border control and so much more. It is the perfect way to keep up to date, protect your business and enhance your career in the security industry. Click here to register your place now to join us at London Excel on 20 22 June 2017.

5 trends in IoT and smart tech from 2016 so far

Shrinking computer chips, exponential growth in processing power and improvements in broadband speeds have driven a wave of innovation in the security industry. Smart tech and the internet of things (IoT) are also bringing video surveillance, electronic access control and digital smoke alarms into the home. But if drones, remote monitoring and integrated systems create new opportunities for boosting security, they can be harnessed by criminals and terrorists to undermine it too.

And with ever more systems and things connected to the internet and to one another the vectors of attack for cyber criminals are also multiplying. Here are five observations about the security implications of recent IoT and smart tech innovation. Drones, spheres and virtual reality: video surveillance moves beyond the bullet/dome and traditional control room The Sensorsphere, which was launched at CES 2016 in Las Vegas, is a spherical surveillance camera for the consumer market that moves by shifting its centre of gravity. Controlled remotely via smartphone its mobility negates the need for having a camera in every room. You may, of course, need two or more Sensorspheres unless you live in a bungalow, with the camera presumably suffering the same limitation that hindered Dr Who s arch-nemeses, the Daleks. LG showcased its own spherical camera at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in February. The Next Web s Owen Williams included Magic Bot Ball in his 9 worst Internet of Things junk at Mobile World Congress, so time will tell whether rolling cameras (not in the traditional sense of the word) have any real utility for consumers. Drone-mounted cameras, meanwhile, can for the first time offer security services and professionals a birds-eye view. The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice will apply to surveillance drones (watch out for the Drone Zone at IFSEC in June 2017), according to Kishor Mistry, head of policy and support at the Office of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner.

Optical imaging pioneer ImmerVision (an IFSEC exhibitor), which develops drone cameras, launched 360-degree panomorph front-facing cameras at the MWC. The captured footage can be viewed and shared not just on tablet and TV but also on head-mounted display devices like Oculus Rift. This raises the remarkable prospect of CCTV operators donning virtual reality headsets. Could the traditional control room whose bank-of-screens layout has barely changed in decades be set for a dramatic overhaul? embedded content Complacency abounds around cyber security even in the tech industry Avast scored a PR coup at the MWC when it exposed the naivety and/or complacency of around 2,000 tech-savvy attendees and exhibitors. That s how many connected to the rogue wireless access points set up by the makers of the world s most widely-used antivirus solution. Using broadcasting SSIDs like Starbucks, Airport_Free_Wifi_AENA and MWC Free WiFi Avast also logged more than eight million data packets and could identify which sites were being visited. Cyber security has risen up the agenda of physical security professionals too. Recent research from cloud-based surveillance company Cloudview found that both traditional DVR-based systems and cloud-based systems were vulnerable to cyber attacks.

During tests five routers, DVRs and IP cameras running the latest software were connected to the internet. One device was breached within minutes, while another two fell under the control of an unknown attacker within 24 hours. A fourth became unstable and completely inoperable. Biometric scanners more fallible than you think Many people assumed including this writer that authenticating identity through the intricate, unique pattern of lines that comprise your fingerprint would be a much harder system to cheat than cards, fobs or pin codes. Not necessarily, as President of Chinese mobile security firm Vkansee, Jason Chaikin, demonstrated at the MWC. So what was the ingenious technology that beat biometrics? Play Doh. Yes, the children s modelling clay invented in 1955 and made out of flour, water, salt, boric acid and mineral oil. Chaikin created a mould of his fingerprint into which he pressed Play-Doh.

To the crowd s astonishment he then fooled the iPhone s fingerprint scanner with the resulting mould. One would assume that expensive biometric systems installed at nuclear plants or pharmaceutical labs would be rather harder to cheat. Let s hope so. This year also saw the showcasing of an iris-authenticated ATM machine at CES. Possessing neither a screen nor pin-code buttons, the innovation promises to reduce by one the countless passwords and pin codes the average person must now remember. embedded content Smart-home challenges remain With high speed Wi-Fi now the norm, powerful smartphones ubiquitous and internet-connectable gadgets proliferating, the smart-home market appears to be blooming. And yet. Until problems around usability, reliability and interoperability are resolved, home automation will remain the reserve of the affluent and, like the internet in its early days, technophiles. Anything that confuses the consumer will be a barrier, Michael Philpott, principal analyst at technology research firm Ovum, told the BBC.

Consumers are only going to buy into the smart home if it makes their life much better or much cheaper. We re not there yet. Switching the lights on and off, for example, is traditionally a simple task. To many consumers smart lighting, dependent on learning algorithms to develop preferences and a digital interface prone to bugs, simply introduces complexity and hassle to their lives. Nest Labs recently undermined consumer trust in IoT devices when it pulled the plug on its Revolv Smart Hub, leaving customers who paid $300 with a useless device that will no longer turn their lights on and off or trigger geofenced automations. Having a device rendered useless because of a shutdown in cloud service highlights the need for open standards in IoT devices, said Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist for the prpl Foundation. Fire-Safety products no longer security s poor relation for innovation Constrained by prescriptive, slow-changing regulations fire technology has generally evolved at a glacial pace. But the IoT trend has unleashed a wave of innovation in fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detection. There has been very little innovation in the smoke alarm industry over the past 50 years, both in terms of user experience and the technology inside, Nest Labs general manager for Europe Lionel Paillet recently told IFSEC Global.

They are an unloved product, seen by most consumers as an annoyance, and we want to change that. Irritation over frequent false alarms and low battery chirp often leads to the alarm being ripped off the wall, or batteries removed completely, leaving families at risk. Paillet said the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm tackles these problems. The Nest Protect alarm uses custom algorithms and a humidity sensor to look for steam, so you can enjoy a nice, quiet shower. And our split-spectrum sensor ensures that we can quickly spot smouldering fires and flaming fires, while minimising false alarms. And smart alarms can avoid that low battery chirp, and even minimise the need to manually test, by checking the batteries, sensors and speakers up to 400 times a day. Free download covering legal requirements for responsible persons under the FSO, courtesy of the IOSH, BIFM and USHA approved UK provider of health, safety and environmental information.

Key features: A full breakdown of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 The key actions when dealing with fire precautions & protection A complete guide to maintaining procedures and requirements within your organisation.

Download now


Download PDF

Nigeria Policemen shoot robbed banker, security guard in Lagos …

Badejo (1)An employee of Access Bank Plc, Mr.

Femi Badejo, and his security guard, Joshua Moses, were shot by policemen in Lagos on Saturday after they responded to a distress call about a robbery at the banker s home in Ikota area of the state.PUNCH Metro learnt that the robbers had attacked Badejo and his neighbours around 4am and one of the neighbours made a distress call to the police, but by the time the policemen arrived about an hour later, the robbers had fled.

Badejo said he and his neighbours were in the compound discussing what had transpired when the policemen stormed the building and started shooting sporadically.

He is currently receiving treatment at St.

Nicholas Hospital, Lagos Island.

Badejo said, I live in a one-storey building and there are four tenants occupying the ground floor. Around 4am, armed robbers stormed our house. The robbers robbed all of us occupying the ground floor.

They stole my clothes, money, phones and other valuables. While the robbery was ongoing, one of the tenants called Maroko Police Division. Badejo said after the robbers had fled, scores of policemen arrived at the house while one of them started shooting indiscriminately, adding that he was hit five times.He said, We (neighbours) were all inside the compound counting our losses when we heard a bang on the gate.

Immediately the security guard opened, one of the policemen started shooting indiscriminately.

The security guard was shot in the pelvis and in the back but the bullet pierced through his chest.

I immediately took cover under a car but the policeman came to where I was and started shooting at me.

Another policeman came behind me and shot. The first shot came through my feet and fractured my leg. Two shots grazed my thighs.

Another shot went through my biceps and came out, while one went through my wrist.

Badejo added that it took the intervention of the other neighbours as well as the Divisional Police Officer of the station to prevent him from being 1.

Badejo and the injured guard were immediately rushed to the hospital.

The guard was subsequently transferred to General Hospital, Broad Street, and then Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

He is said to be in a critical 2.

One of our 3 learnt that Badejo was scheduled to give a lecture at a summit organised by the bank on Saturday.

According to a colleague who craved anonymity, the 4 executives were curious when he did not show up as scheduled.

He said, Badejo is in Total Quality Management Department at the head office. He is part of the team working on the 21st century transformation which the bank is working on. He was supposed to deliver a lecture at 8.30am but when we did not see him, we began to wonder what went wrong.

It was not until later that we received words from one his relatives that he was shot by policemen. Badejo, who berated the police for lack of professionalism, said, When the policemen came into the compound, they didn t even ask any questions. One of them just started shooting.

Even the armed robbers did not even assault me, they only took my belongings.

On Tuesday, a 5 motorcycle rider, Adigun Atilola, was shot by a policeman at Ilupeju during the clampdown on okada riders.

The following day, a policeman, Oluwatiyesi Gboyega, also allegedly shot and killed a bus conductor during an argument over N50.A call placed to the spokesperson for the state police 6, Ngozi Braide, on Sunday was not answered and neither did she reply a text message sent to her on the shooting of the banker and securityman.

Source: Punch

Feel Free, Share!

with Your Friends

Do you have a story for publication?

Please email it to [email protected]

Like & Get Update on Facebook Now


  1. ^ (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ (
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ (

BBC documentary investigates armed private security industry

BBC documentary investigates armed private security industry Pilgrims Group managing director Bill Freear is one of the key commentators on tonight’s BBC documentary entitled ‘Britain’s Private War’, which focuses on UK private security contractors working abroad. Broadcast earlier this week, the BBC s hour-long documentary ‘Britain s Private War’ investigates the UK s armed private security industry. To be repeated this evening (4 October) on BBC Two Scotland at 11.50 pm, the programme highlights how former servicemen are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan but there’s little public knowledge of their deaths.

BBC reporter Sam Poling talked to private security contractors in a sector in which multi-million pound contracts are up for grabs, but where it s feared some companies are placing profits before the lives of those on the ground. The programme also examines the case of a Scottish former Royal Marine murdered in Iraq by a colleague who, it’s alleged, wasn t properly vetted by the company employing him. ‘Britain’s Private War’ was developed after Poling and BBC producer Liam McDougall worked alongside several private security contractors for documentaries in Iraq and Pakistan, as well as criminal investigations in the UK. It seemed strange to know that there was no official database for those contractors who had lost their lives, said Poling.

There was no formal regulation of the industry which meant there was no mandatory vetting of those involved. Other programmes have been made about the industry but, for the first time, ‘Britain s Private War’ gives a voice to the contractors on the ground. Interviews with leading commentators The documentary features interviews with a range of individuals, including the families of contractors killed in Iraq.

Offering their considered opinions are Sir William Pater (former Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan), Bob Shepherd (former private security contractor and author of The Circuit), Bill Freear (the managing director of risk management specialist Pilgrims Group) and Dr Chris Kinsey, specialist in international security studies at King s College, London. The documentary took six months in the making and also followed a group of recruits who were training to be PSCs. The programme makers followed them to Poland and watched them undergo the live firing training.

The programme raises serious issues, and it was important that we had a voice which was representative of the professional and honest side of the industry, continued Poling. During conversations with many contractors, one company name was mentioned on more than one occasion – that of Pilgrims Group. “The fact Pilgrims Group has a 100% safety record was important and, having spoken with many in the industry, it seemed clear that Pilgrims managing director Bill Freear is highly respected and holds a reputation for professionalism. When the team contacted the APPF in Kabul, one of the companies recommended as being among the best was Pilgrims.

Total professionalism, focus on safety The BBC team interviewed Freear about his experiences both as a contractor and as the managing director of Pilgrims, a company which operates worldwide protecting businesses and their interests. He spoke of his frustration with companies who continue to attract the big money contracts despite cutting corners, and says it can be difficult to remain principled in the industry. To his great credit, Freear is adamant that he will never compromise the professionalism and safety ethos of his company to secure a contract.

Business is about delivering a service that delights your customer at a price they accept as reasonable,” asserted Freear. “When the risk is potential loss of life, there should be no short cuts. Financial pressures can drive businesses to make the wrong choices on price versus service. If budgets must be lowered, finding smarter ways to operate rather than selecting a cheaper supplier is the prudent choice.

It’s our ability to recommend and explain the right solution to our clients that perhaps sets us apart, and has produced the track record and reputation we have. BBC journalist Poling went on to state: Pilgrims was going to accompany our team in Afghanistan. However, due to time constraints this wasn t possible.

Bill Freear s interview was used to illustrate the fact that there are very professional companies operating in the industry.

The programme was initially broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on 1 October.

Viewers outside of Scotland can watch the documentary at any time during the next seven days by accessing BBC i-Player

Cash stolen from security guard – David Sargant | Online Consultant …

A sum of money has been stolen from a cash delivery van during an armed robbery in south Belfast.

See more here:
Cash stolen from security guard1

No related posts.

Tags: 2

Category: In The News3

About the Author (Author Profile4)

My name is David Sargant. I am a freelance Online Consultant, Digital Consultant, Writer, Blogger & Business Marketing Consultant based in Essex & London.

No related posts.


  1. ^ Cash stolen from security guard (
  2. ^ (
  3. ^ View all posts in In The News (
  4. ^ Author Profile (

BBC report focuses on G4S Olympics security contract Cybertronic …

Aug 6th, 2012 at 11:33 am

A leading security academic has suggested that those who awarded the Olympic security contract solely to G4S should have taken advice from the wider industry.

In Blog1. You can skip to the end and leave a response2. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. ^ View all posts in Blog (
  2. ^ response (

G4S probes Old Trafford security guard pay demo – Coast …

BBC News

G4S probes Old Trafford security guard pay demo
BBC News
About 40 security guards have staged a protest outside Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium claiming they have not been paid since 6 June. The guards, who demonstrated on Friday night, said they have not received cash from London-based firm Arete

and more 32


  1. ^ BBC News (
  2. ^ G4S probes Old Trafford security guard pay demo (
  3. ^ and more (