High-rise Fire: Grenfell Tower, West London
Challenges and Concerns for Citizens, Fire Fighters,
and Counter Terror Managers
Is This an Intentional Act?
The Emergency Solutions International (ESI) team has been watching in horror as London faces yet another catastrophe. Undoubtedly, the death tolls of this latest incident will rise throughout the day. The question that the London Fire Brigade will be searching for with their colleagues from the Police Service is the cause and origin.
Should this fire be found to be intentional, we will be thrust into a whole new paradigm of threat from our home grown terrorists. For years, fire fighters and fire prevention officers have quietly discussed the vulnerability of soft target high-rises, where unsecured suppression and detection systems may be easily rendered inoperable and easily available means used to create multiple challenging fires across a City or Country. In October 2000, prior to 9-11, I was party to such discussions at the National Fire Academy (NFA) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, USA. City Managers and Government Officials must take a hard look at cuts to fire services and whether these cuts create soft targets based upon diminished response capability. London deployed 200+ fire fighters and forty (40) engines at this fire, and lost. A twenty-four (24) storey building is very common in most municipalities, some which have far less resources than the London Fire Brigade.
We send our prayers and condolences to the occupants and families of those affected by the fire. As well, we think of the heroic efforts of the London Fire Brigade during this incident. Should this fire be found to be intentionally set, we will look to the future regarding implications for risk assessment and response capability.
Mark Gillan, BBA, CFO, MIFireE
Canadian Security Clearance: Level III Top Secret
As Director of Emergency Solutions International, Mark leads ESI associates in conducting risk assessments, training, emergency plan reviews, exercise scenario development, digital simulation, exercise facilitation and evaluation as well as compiling final After Action Review documentation and recommendations. Service has been provided for various critical infrastructure, such as Port Saint John, Point Lepreau Generating Station, Canaport Liquefied Natural Gas, Saint John Energy, as well as corporations like Atlantic Potash, Mead Johnson Nutrition and the Mosaic Company. Mark has conducted over four dozen industrial exercises and evaluations in Canada, the United States and India. As lead evaluator, Mark has authored reports on behalf of clients for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Transport Canada. In 2014, Mark authored the International Hazardous Materials Operations Plan under the International Emergency Management Assistance Compact (IEMAC) on behalf of Defense Research and Development Canada and International Emergency Management Group (IEMG) members. Prior to founding Emergency Solutions International, Mark served the City of Saint John Fire Department as an active fire fighter, Hazardous Materials/CBRN-E technician and member of the rescue squad. Mark finished his 26 year career with the Fire Service in the position of Deputy Chief and Acting Fire Chief of the department.
In relation to our nation’s preparedness: Mark has completed advanced training at CFB Suffield and has served through the Centre for Security Science as a Senior Special Advisor in the area of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive response. In this role Mark has successfully completed projects related to implementing Capability Based Planning within the public sector; specifically in the areas of conducting Consolidated Risk Assessments through identification of Full Spectrum Threat Scenarios. Further to the Consolidated Risk Assessments, Mark has facilitated and produced Capability Analysis/Gap Analysis within the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
Mark obtained his Bachelor of Business degree in 1998 from the University of New Brunswick and has completed the Dalhousie University, Certificate in Incident Command, the Canadian Association of Fire Chief’s “Chief Fire Officer” designation (CFO) and the British: Institute of Fire Engineer’s “Member’s Level” designation (MIFireE) award. Mark has completed LNG Suppression Training at Texas A&M, has studied Incident Command at the U.S. National Fire Academy and also the Leadership in Crisis program at Harvard University.