Over many years in my previous occupation I had the privilege to meet and spend time with a range of senior and middle tier managers from the fire service, primarily in East Sussex as well as a small number in West Sussex. Those I met were all people who I found inspiring, not just because of what they do when they are faced with a burning building, but because of their willingness to think out of the box when there is no fire present and we need to focus on preventing fires, traffic accidents, drownings and indeed any event that can lead to death or injury. The company I am part of currently works with a small team of people from within East Sussex Fire and Rescue whose role is to carry out visits to Schools to help educate and inspire young people not to go near open water without the right safety provision, and also to be aware of the danger of traffic and other risks. However when fire fighters retire from active service, they sometimes continue to work in the same area of expertise. One of my friends, Dexter Allen who retired from East Sussex Fire and Rescue a year or two ago is now running a private business giving advice to organisations and people regarding a range of hazards related to fire risks. I see on twitter this morning that he has been planning for some time to hold a free event in Ovingdean this Thursday on ‘Managing Fire Safety in Residential Blocks. I suspect after the tragedy that unfolded on Wednesday Morning in Grenfell Tower that the Winter Garden Rooms at UK Blind Veterans will be full to capacity and that Dex will have a busy day.
The importance of reassuring residents that their homes are a place of safety has suddenly become rather more substantial in the case of people who live in properties that have a number of floors. Whilst all of us would rather that the fire had not broken out in Kensington last week, thank goodness for the hard work of people like Dex in trying to address fire risks for people living in vulnerable locations, which is particularly timely. I hope that this will spur on some of the people who work for the Council and other agencies that run high rise blocks of flats to take the time to attend the CPD.