Some clear thinking is essential

THE destruction by fire of the heart of the Grand Pier calls for more than just money, hand-wringing and expressions of support: some clear thinking is essential

THE destruction by fire of the heart of the Grand Pier calls for more than just money, hand-wringing and expressions of support: some clear thinking is essential if, that is, the pier is to be reconstructed and safeguarded from a recurrence. Some points are so obvious it is amazing that they do not seem to have occurred to anyone: first, the economic heart of the pier is analogous to a castle surrounded by a huge moat - filled with water, we note! It is equally inaccessible other than via the drawbridge - i.e. the boardwalk - and so an outbreak of fire cannot be surrounded and attacked from all quarters unless provision is specifically made for such. Fire escapes are essential for buildings on land and no less important is the provision of fire access approaches for piers so that firefighters can readily scale the pier with firefighting equipment; moreover there should be hydrant points around the perimeter of the decking which permit seawater to be pumped onto the structure to assist in fire suppression. It will be interesting to hear what the fire service has to say about these very basic observations which seem to have been overlooked by the very people who ought to be actively thinking about these dangers.PHILIP BINDING - Sidcot, Winscombe


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