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Archive for June 17th, 2017

When humanity fails we all suffer. It seems there are more tragedies each day. Maybe it is because we are more connected but we are more connected. What used to take 6-24 hours to report is almost instantaneous today. It’s why I like following twitter for news—not big news sources but people in the field. I was about to go to sleep the other night when scenes from the Grenfell Tower fire came across my twitter feed. Horrible images and video with people saying they could see residents still trapped as the inferno grew. Images from the twin towers on 9/11 came flooding in from my memory banks—those awful feelings of despair for the individuals and their families.

 

I stayed up hoping to hear some news, hoping those people would make it out, but knowing what I witnessed in the video would not prove this true. I kept asking what about sprinkler systems. The more I watched, the more fuel seemed to be added to the conflagration. Come to find out—there were no sprinklers. WHAT? I’m used to living in the US I guess but that doesn’t always prove to be a safe issue.

 

Building codes are so important to have but some see it as unneeded regulations. I dare them to put their loved ones (or even themselves) in a building that hasn’t been deemed fire safe. To drive this point home, I live in a place where we pride ourselves on certain living conditions that seem to be above the norm but a few years ago, a retirement home (not nursing home) was built. It was for people who could still take care of themselves, could drive as they offered garages, and the like. I think it was two-story if I recall correctly—garage on the bottom with living area above.

 

A fire broke out one night. Even with a fire department down the street there was loss of life due to the building not being up to code. For one, there were no firewalls built in the complex. Yeah—I don’t know. Supposedly the fire inspector signed off on the building plans and then as it was being built and then again at completion. That was all a big mess because he later said it wasn’t his signature. And, this is here in the US where we do require sprinklers in certain situations along with a host of other things.

 

So I read an article about the Grenfell fire that keeps nagging at me (link). It equates sprinkler installments of established buildings as calculated risk compared to that of driving cars here in the US at a slower speeds so as not to die. DO WHAT? Yes, we know there is less of a risk of death at slower speeds but it’s not the same. Now to an actuary, this may seem to be equal—in reality it isn’t. People aren’t numbers. Accepted casualty rates aren’t acceptable and so on. Sprinklers and air bags might qualify for this type of discussion but we in the US have already had all of these discussions.

 

People don’t have to drive cars but they do need a place to sleep and that place needs to be made safe. I keep seeing people in the UK saying this isn’t the time to have this discussion. Sounds a bit like our gun debates that some people refuse to have. I understand our governments are different but it seems we have the same type of mindset about poor people…since there were poor people living in this building, they should be glad they at least had shelter — as in be happy for what they had. Roll eyes – yes I have read that several times and that they shouldn’t be expecting the government to take care of them not to mention the ones who blame the poor for being poor. Errrrrrr.

 

I could go on and on but sprinklers save lives. That’s a given fact. It isn’t debatable. It isn’t an opinion. It should never be up for discussion. Oh, by the way, they were adding cladding to the building to make it more aesthetically appealing. Even that was a bad choice since the material they chose can’t be used in the US but under certain conditions – high rises aren’t one of them because of flammability.

 

I’m so sorry for the loss of life from the fire. There are lessons to be learned. I hope everyone learns that this is not one of those accepted risks.

 

Happy Gardening! 🙂

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