Fire crews sent away from Manchester Arena blast

An independent report into the emergency response to the Manchester Arena attack has been published and has found poor communication meant firefighters were sent away from the scene.

Lord Kerslake, who chaired the review into the incident which left 22 people dead last May, said that ‘out of the loop’ fire crews took two hours to join other emergency workers at the scene, despite a paramedic arriving within 11 minutes.

It found that Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service ‘played no meaningful role in the response for two hours’, meaning a ‘valuable resource was not available to assist on the scene’. Among its recommendations, the report said Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service must ‘reflect on the poor communication, poor procedures and issues of operational culture’ which caused its failure to respond properly.

Discussing recommendations, the report said that said ‘not one single reason or one individual’ was to blame for the errors, but a ‘most unfortunate combination’ of ‘poor communications and poor procedures’.

Lord Kerslake said: “The Manchester Arena attack was devastating for many thousands of people. We must think first and always of the families of those who have been bereaved, those injured, and all those affected by this act of terror. We have ensured that their views have been front and centre throughout this process. There is a lot to be proud of in the response to the attack, both for the city region of Greater Manchester, and for the emergency services. The benefits of collaborative working and planning for emergencies were demonstrated to the full. And there were hundreds, if not thousands, of individual acts of bravery and selflessness.

“But it’s also vital to learn the lessons around things that did not go so well. It matters not just for the people of Greater Manchester and beyond who were caught up in the terrible events of that night, but also for places that might be caught up in such an attack in the future. I would like to thank all of those who contributed to this report. There was honesty, there was soul-searching, and there was a determination that their insight would benefit others in the future.”

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