Fire Authority update from City Hall, December 2016

The Fire Authority is now consulting on the draft London Safety Plan 2017. This sets out the Fire Brigade’s future strategy for the next 4 years. Please submit your views, and copy me in to anything you send.

The draft London Safety Plan (LSP) includes proposals to expand the London Fire Brigade’s capacity to respond to a terrorist incident,including setting out intentions to boost the number of specialist firefighters trained to move in behind the police to fight fires and help treat casualties in a terrorist incident.

It also proposes an extensive evaluation of the role of Fire Rescue Units (FRUs) and the potential to give them attendance time targets, highlighting the importance of these specialist vehicles in responding to major incidents. All FRUs provide a core set of specialist equipment including difficult access, heavy cutting and extended duration breathing apparatus. The heavy cutting capability is particularly important in road traffic collisions, at which the Brigade’s attendance has increased by 15 per cent over the last five years.

We are also asking whether capability to respond to flooding should be expanded.

We also propose to improve diversity and community relations within the Brigade, opening the ‘big red doors’ of the fire stations, allowing the community to engage more with firefighters and freeing up facilities for community use. As well as placing stations at the heart of the community, we want to make sure our staff experience an inclusive culture in the workplace.

I was pleased to attend the opening of the newly rebuilt and modernised Dockhead Fire Station in Southwark. This was also an opportunity to mark the 30th anniversary of the ITV show ‘London’s Burning’ which was filmed there. Many of the actors and crew for this long running and popular series were in attendance.

I also attended the open day at West Hampstead Fire Station, which was great fun, given the number of old fire engines they had been able to get there to entertain the public.

Finally, some Barnet residents may remember Tom George as our fire brigade borough commander a few years ago. I am pleased to report we have just    promoted him to the post of Director of Operations and so the second most senior uniformed officer in the Brigade.