World News

Apology for delay in response to Manchester attack

Apology for delay in response to Manchester attack

There was no integration of emergency services or communication amongst the teams, so in the first instance, the #Fire Engines were "sent away" from the scene, and in the end, the firefighters didn't end up getting in there until two whole hours after the blast.

Fire services took hours to arrive on the scene and the media's response to the Manchester attacks could not "be as good as it gets" according to the report's authors.

The fire service's chief apologised "unreservedly" for the failures.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his home-made device at 10.31pm on 22 May previous year, in the foyer of Manchester Arena as 14,000 people streamed out at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

The home-made device was detonated at 22:31, with the first paramedic arriving at 22:42.

The police duty inspector in the Greater Manchester Police control room declared Operation Plato, a pre-arranged plan when it is suspected a marauding armed terrorist may be on the loose - and assumed, wrongly, other agencies were aware.

The Kerslake report commends the force duty officer from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for ignoring the rules. When they eventually were, one witness noted the "immense frustration" on the firefighters' faces.

A senior Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service officer stuck to rules, keeping emergency responders 500 meters away from any suspected zone of danger.

One of the most startling revelations from the new report is that, because there was no clear and present fire in the venue following the explosion, the emergency responders didn't allow any fire crews to enter the building.

This hampered communication and awareness of what was happening at the scene.

Critical Lord Kerslake PIC PA
Critical Lord Kerslake PIC PA

"Strategic oversights" by police commanders led to confusion with other 999 services over whether an "active shooter" was on the loose and poor communications between Greater Manchester Police and the fire service meant the "valuable" assistance of fire crews was delayed by two hours and six minutes after the bombing, which left 22 dead and scores injured.

The report made more than 50 recommendations but states its panel of experts was not there to answer the question of: "Would the earlier arrival of GMFRS at the scene have made any difference to the medical outcomes of the injured?"

Even though police, arena staff and even the military were on the scene within minutes, the fire service did not respond until after midnight, the report said.

Panellists authoring the report were agreed that the general media response to the attack fell far short of meeting the country's press standards.

Lord Kerslake said that "deep down" the errors were prompted by failings in "operational culture".

The failure by fire chiefs was "extraordinary" and "incredible", Kerslake told reporters.

"They should have gone forward not back", he said. "The discipline of the fire service meant that they could not self-deploy".

The report also pointed to failure by telecommunications company Vodafone, saying that a casualty bureau it had set up "was seriously hampered by the complete failure" of a telephone-based communications system provided by Vodafone.

"This failure was a cause of significant stress and upset on the night to the families involved, who were seeking to find out more about the situation of their loved ones".

More news: Abe's popularity slides following land sale scandal


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