Tim Whiteman, chief executive of the International Powered Access Federation, has written to Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, to express members’ wishes to work with the city and its emergency services in the wake of the recent catastrophic Grenfell Tower fire. IPAF member companies want to explore whether taller access platforms could be used in the future to help rescue people trapped during similar fires in residential or commercial towers.

The tallest access platform currently operated by the London Fire Brigade can reach up to 32 meters, while Grenfell Tower is 67 meters tall. The letter from Whiteman points  out that there are several IPAF member companies operating access platforms in and around London that can reach up to 90 meters and these members are offering to work with Mayor Khan and the London Fire Brigade to see if their specialist equipment and training support can be of use in the future.

Whiteman’s letter requests a meeting between Mayor Khan, the London Fire Brigade and leading mobile elevating work platform equipment manufacturers and rental companies to see if their products could allow trained fire crews to rescue occupants of other tall buildings should a similar incident ever occur.

The machines most likely to be of use would be lorry-mounted MEWPs that can carry up to six people in the platform, which, with some modification and proper training, could allow fire rescuers to almost triple the height at which they can safely operate.

Whiteman acknowledged there might be issues around the design and intended use of existing equipment, but emphasized that IPAF members, including manufacturers, hire firms and training specialists, are keen to work with emergency services to see if commercially available MEWPs could be adapted to work in rescue situations. If a solution can be found that works for the London Fire Brigade, similar equipment could be made available or placed on standby for fire services in other parts of the U.K., particularly in areas where there are high residential or commercial towers.

“Like most people, our members were horrified by the tragedy that unfolded at Grenfell Tower, and discussions at a local, regional and national level within IPAF quickly made it clear that many of our members would like to investigate whether their specialist equipment could assist fire crews in similar circumstances in future,” said Whiteman.

“I’ve therefore written to Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, with an open offer of free consultancy advice and to broker discussions between the relevant bodies and our members in and around the Greater London area to see what equipment is available that could, with some modification and the requisite operator training, be of assistance to fire rescue teams when tackling a similar blaze in a tall building. We hope Mayor Khan and his colleagues will look favorably on our offer and, if our members’ expertise can be of value to them as they review safety and disaster response protocols going forward, then we will be at their disposal.”