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Reflecting on the tragic events at Grenfell Tower over the past week where the blue light services did an amazing job and were, rightly, universally praised. The same cannot be said for the aftercare provided by HM Government, Kensington & Chelsea Council and the Landlord.
Immediate support and care that should have been provided to the ‘victims’ of the fire by government was initially left to well meaning citizens and local charities. In my view this crisis management activity should have been clearly coordinated by the local council as part of a predefined emergency response plan.
So why didn’t this happen?
We will have to wait for the public enquiry to find out, but here are my thoughts:
Crisis Management is a specialist skill. For many of the council staff (even if they had a well written plan before the fire) this would have been their first experience of a ‘real’ incident. In their normal work life they are administrators not crisis managers. Many would have been emotionally affected by the incident due to its proximity, some may also have been scared about their potential complicity in the disaster. Thinking in a clear and objective manner would have been difficult.
In a major incident situation such as Grenfell Tower the blue light services need to be left alone to contain the incident and save life.
All other aspects of pastoral support and media communications need to be professionally managed by a team of highly skilled Crisis Management experts and advisers.
Government, charities or even the private sector could create a Rapid Reaction Team to attend and take control of major incidents.
We could even call it: