The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is failing to meet response time targets to more than half of all emergencies in the areas where ten fire stations were closed in 2014, new research has revealed.
Firefighters’ union FBU said the news comes as it emerged there have been two more fatal fires at incidents in the capital where fires crews missed their target attendance time, making a total of eight deaths since the fire stations closed. A Lancaster University analysis found around 50 per cent of all call-outs in the areas where the London stations closed did not meet the six minute response time target for the first fire engine to arrive. FBU branded the performance figures “outrageous but foreseeable”.
Paul Embery, regional secretary of the FBU in London, said: “These stats support what our firefighters are experiencing on the frontline. Firefighters are attending fatal emergencies knowing that if they could have got there in the time target, they may have been able to save lives. We warned at the time that the decision to close the ten fire stations would result in deaths.
“Those warnings were dismissed and as a result lives have been lost. These damning statistics show the need for urgent action by the new mayor Sadiq Khan and the LFB.”
Statistician Benjamin Taylor, who analysed data from call-outs to over 24,000 fires in the capital, said: “Two years on, my analysis would suggest that the impact of the closures may be more substantial than the London Fire Brigade anticipated.”
He added: “Following the closures, the London Fire Brigade is only able to respond to around 50 per cent of calls in these areas within its six minute target. Some calls take up to 10 minutes to respond to. Even one minute extra can make all the difference to a fire victim’s chances of survival.”