The independent London newspaper

Time to rethink firefighting in the wake of serious blazes

23 January, 2020

Firefighters tackle blaze at famous Koko music venue in Camden Town

• IT was saddening to see Koko going up in flames, (‘Let’s keep spirit of Amy alive and hope Koko rises from the ashes’, January 10).

We are losing too many historic buildings that are either empty or under refurbishment, the East Pier in Brighton, the Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art and, in France, Notre Dame cathedral.

Here it is high time that companies started investing in temporary fire alarms that can be loosely hung around building sites with a loud klaxon outside. In addition I have bought a fire extinguisher that sets itself off when it detects a fire.

Despite the brave efforts of the firefighters the technology has not moved on since my late father fought fires in the Blitz. Spraying on water at a distance is a slow process. You need to get right to the centre of the blaze.

I envisage a super fire engine equipped with long hydraulic lances that can punch holes in the roof of a building and spray in foam.

In addition we need fire-proof robots on caterpillar tracks that can enter a building and climb stairs with a foam spray.

Unless we starting experimenting with these things we will not know what works. I have suggested this before and copy in the fire brigade in the hope that they will take note.



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