On the night of the Manchester Arena bombing, a senior member of the fire service control room defended the decision not to send personnel to the scene immediately.
Michelle Gregson, the leader of a night shift team at Northwest Fire Control (NWFC) at the time, told the public investigation that she was “not happy” with the information she received – and that her training and experience showed that They are not capable of that. Do not put firefighters in a situation where they may be in danger.
The inquiry was heard on Tuesday Peter O’Reilly, then chief fire officer of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), said in a statement that the fire service’s “resources” should have been mobilized immediately and that After the ‘Blast Action Plan’ was brought under control. .
But Ms Gregson, who no longer works for the NWFC, said she “strongly disagrees”.
He said in his statement that the incident was no longer an explosion, it was caused by a bomb reported by a shooter.
And he agreed on the disadvantages of four separate fire services – the same, regional control room covering Colombia, Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester, calling its advantages “too much” and “huge”. ۔
The joint control room opened in 2014.
“The NWFC’s idea was to discuss ways to make it easier for staff,” Ms Gregson told the Inquiry. “It simply came to our notice then.
“The four fire and rescue services will probably be more than you know now, or in addition to where I left off.”
GMFRS firefighters, including those with special terrorist capabilities, were stopped at the arena and did not return for more than two hours after the May 22, 2017, blast at 10.31 pm.
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Ms Gregson said she had learned “dynamic assessment of the situation” over the years and told the inquiry: “This incident … everything about it told me that I would try to find out more. I’m not happy about mobilizing resources immediately. “
He said the terms used were “explosions”.
“As soon as I found out that – [an explosion] – It was caused by a bomb, which immediately indicates any kind of terrorist activity.
“All my training, all my experience tells me that I can’t send staff into a situation that could potentially endanger them.”
Ms Gregson said the information received was “sharp and vague”.
The inquiry was told that the ‘blast’ action card had been attached to the incident log, but that staff had not been mobilized.
Plans include specific instructions and protocols for execution, and a ‘bomb’ action card.
Police investigations have heard that police officers rushed to the scene and a Northwest Ambulance Service paramedic entered the City Room area – where suicide bomber Salman Abidi detonated the device about 20 minutes after the blast.
But the first firefighters entered Manchester Victoria at 12.49am – two hours and 15 minutes after the NWFC was notified.
Firefighters were stationed at Manchester Central Fire Station on Thomson Street, a few hundred meters from the Arena, but were ordered to “master” at Phillips Park Station, three and a half miles east of Manchester, before returning to Thomson Street. ۔ .
Amid false reports of an active shooter, the duty officer (FDO) of the police force announced Operation Plato, a response prepared by the emergency services to a terrorist firearms attack, even though it was a suicide bombing. But the announcement did not go unnoticed. And ambulance services.
In her statement, Ms. Gregson said: “Based on our dynamic experience, we will not send firefighters into a potentially unstable situation and the training we have received in our careers, we have learned where A bomb has exploded, it has exploded there. It often has the potential of a secondary device. “
Ms. Gregson admitted that she was not pursuing a plan of action and was seeking duty from Nello (National Inter-Agency Liaison Officer) Andy Berry, as she was not sure who to follow.
During the interrogation on Monday, two control room operators admitted that they should have provided key information to Mr Berry after the blast, but that did not happen.
Mr Barry, heard the inquiry, tried to contact the FDO for six minutes but failed – Ms Gregson said she had not been notified and had not been logged in by control room operators. Was
Ms Gregson acknowledged that she had not taken a step back to assess how the response was unfolding.
He described the activity in the control room as “heavy” – and described the incident as “unusual” for the control room.
“I had nothing to point out that nothing was wrong,” she said, referring to the fact that Mr Berry could not catch the FDO.
Asked if there was a need to change, Ms. Gregson said all agencies should train as much as possible and train together, including the control room and staff.
He replied: “Much of my reflection is training.
“There was a lack of critical information sharing.”
She said control room staff had not been invited to any direct, multi-agency terrorist attack training exercises prior to the Arena bombing, a fact Ms Gregson described as unusual. ۔
He said the available action plans did not keep up with the information coming into the control room at night and he accepted that it was up to the NWFC to “seriously assess or otherwise the situation you are facing”. It is impossible to estimate.
The inquiry stated that the ‘Bomb General’ action plan had been amended by the Fire and Rescue Service on June 21, 2017, which required that if a bomb exploded, the control room would use the ‘Explosion’ action plan. And sent firefighters to the scene.
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