Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union

May 08, 2013 09:49 ET

FBU Warns Mayor to Stop the Cuts, or Londoners Will Wait Longer for a Fire Engine

LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - May 8, 2013) - The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has called on the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to abandon his plans for deep cuts in the London Fire Brigade following the publication of data revealing how some Londoners will be expected to wait for up to four minutes longer for a fire engine in an emergency. The mayor wants to close 12 fire stations, remove 18 engines and slash 520 frontline firefighter posts.

The release of the data came after the brigade received several requests for information about the impact of the cuts on response times across every council ward in London.

Until now, the mayor and brigade bosses had focused almost exclusively on how the cuts would affect the 'average' response time across the whole of London, claiming that this would increase by only 15 seconds for the arrival of the first fire engine at an incident and 16 seconds for the second fire engine.

However, when the figures are broken down into local wards, the picture tells a very different story, with response times in many areas significantly affected, even doubling in places where the local stations have been earmarked for closure. For example, residents of Clapham Town ward will see response times rise from 3 minutes 56 seconds to 7 minutes 53 seconds, while those living in Bow East will wait for 7 minutes 20 seconds, up from 4 minutes 9 seconds.

The number of wards which would find themselves outside of the brigade's own targets for the arrival of the first and second engines (six and eight minutes respectively) would also rise by 40 to 267.

Paul Embery, FBU regional secretary for London said: "Now the cat is well and truly out of the bag. Under pressure, the brigade has been forced to publish figures which tell the true story. For all the talk of 'average' response times, it's actual response times that count, and these stand to increase significantly in some areas as a result of the mayor's cuts.

"In our service, seconds count. Those seconds are often the difference between life and death for people trapped in a fire. A fire quadruples in size every two minutes, and the human brain can survive for no more than a few minutes in a smoke-filled environment.

"These cuts will result in deaths and injuries which could otherwise have been avoided. In the light of this data, it is an insult to the intelligence for the mayor and brigade bosses to suggest otherwise.

"It is time now for them to come clean with Londoners about the real impact of these cuts, and to abandon their proposals in the interests of public safety."

Contact Information

  • Paul Embery
    07854 998508