A crucial disaster support plan designed to help survivors was not put into practice as the Grenfell Tower tragedy unfolded, ITV News has learned.

Kensington & Chelsea Council failed to implement measures they had trained in just 15 months prior, according to a panel of emergency planners.

And the local authority repeated mistakes they had made during the 2016 training exercise, it is claimed.

The revelation comes as the deadline for submissions over what the public inquiry into the fire, which killed at least 80 people, should examine passed.

Meanwhile disaster experts have told ITV News that there are alarming gaps in Britain’s preparations for a similar major incident.

Survivors, bereaved families and other involved parties have spent the past few weeks making their case about what the scope of the forthcoming public inquiry should be.

As the 5pm deadline passed on Friday, more than 400 proposals had been submitted.

One of those, submitted by a group of disaster response experts and seen by ITV News, suggested a vital crisis plan was never triggered by the council as the fire raged.

Well-rehearsed humanitarian assistance strategies, including practical and emotional help to be given to casualties, were not carried out, the experts argued.

Elsewhere, the risk register, a legally required assessment of potential public dangers, failed to mention tower block fires.

Kensington & Chelsea Council repeated several poor responses, highlighted in a disaster role play exercise carried out just 15 months earlier, in the aftermath of Grenfell, it is alleged.

The borough had received detailed recommendations and improvements on their emergency response.

But disaster response expert Tony Thompson said those failings and repeated mistakes robbed fire survivors of vital help.

“We’re looking at shelter, we’re looking at housing, we’re looking at food, somewhere to stay, somewhere away from the emergency,” he told ITV News.

He added that more needed to be done to build on experience from previous disasters, such as the 9/11 attack, to combat future scenarios.

Meanwhile, the British Consul to New York at the time of 9/11, Sir Thomas Harris, told ITV News that the Grenfell inquiry had to consider why more was not learned ahead of the fire.

He said that in future a disaster scenario could not be left to individual boroughs to respond to.

And Sir Thomas urged a “properly co-ordinated, city-wide” response to future tragedies.



World News


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