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Inquiry and Grenfell News
Inquiry Update On Monday 17th September the inquiry heard from London Fire Brigade control room worker Debbie Real who has worked with the London Fire Brigade since 1991. She was Assistant Operations Manager in the control room on the night of the fire. She did not have training for multiple Fire Survival Guidance (FSG) calls in the control room. She was also Assistant Operations Manager during the Lakanal House fire in 2009. The number of FSG calls during this fire was ten. She had further training in 2016 following the fire.
The control room uses the Vision system. She said that she had experienced a number of glitches with the system prior to the fire. She was unaware of how much smoke there would need to be in a flat before the stay put policy should be revoked.
She was not told that the TV wasn’t working in the control room or that it shouldn’t be switched on in case it distracted the Command Room Operators. On the night of the fire she assisted Operations Manager Alexandra Norman. She made an action plan to page senior officers, contact Thames Water, the Police, the Ambulance services and the Environment Agency. She quickly realised that something was wrong. She had a conversation with Ms Norman and relayed how concerned she felt that no information had come back about residents being rescued from the incident ground.
She spoke to Senior Operations Manager Jo Smith who asked her to prioritise FSG calls. She told the Inquiry that no prioritisation took place in the control room. She answered the critical line and set up a whiteboard system at 2am. She then told the Inquiry that she passed information to Jason Oliff who in turn passed the information to the Command Unit.
During the incident, Ms Real remembers Jo Smith and Adrian Fenton being on the phone to the Incident Commander regarding revoking the stay put policy. She believes that Jo Smith was the instigator to revoke the stay put policy. She recalls Alexandra Norman telling her that the stay put policy was revoked. The new information was relayed to residents to get out, hold hands, use wet towels and keep together.