Lessons Learned

In high-rises, occupants have often been given the advice to stay put in the event of a fire. For the Grenfell Tower, those who ignored this advice seemed to fare best, according to an Associate Press article. Even in the wake of this disaster, many fire experts still recommend the former option, provided the building has the proper protections in place for fire suppression - items like multiple stairwells, sprinkler systems, fireproof doors, or flame-resistance materials.

In the case of Grenfell Tower, many of these protections were lacking. Notes Chicago Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Conroy, "The bottom line: Sprinklers, fire doors and multiple stairwells work. It becomes difficult to shelter-in-place when you have no engineered fire protection systems within a building."

While building codes and fire safety rules may vary between regions, the general directive to shelter-in-place typically applies to buildings of 15 stores or more. Says Roberts Solomon of the National Fire Protection Association, "It is human nature for most of us - if we know there's a fire, start moving and get out. But we try to make sure people know there are features and redundancies in buildings that you can count on, and you can stay put."