My letter in the Evening Standard

The London Fire Brigade rightly reminds us that its 5,000 staff deal with “more than just fires”. This has never been truer than during this coronavirus pandemic.

We must pay tribute to our firefighters who have stepped up to drive ambulances, fit masks for medics and deliver supplies. They have also dealt with coronavirus deaths in the community. All this lightens the load on London’s health and care services.

But with these extra duties, the Brigade must not put off risk-critical training and fire safety. Londoners will not be safer in the long run if other parts of the frontline effort must depend on LFB to cope. The answer is proper funding for emergency services.

Andrew Dismore AM

Labour spokesperson for fire and resilience, London Assembly

Editor’s reply
Dear Andrew

You speak as the London politician with arguably the best insight into the challenges the brigade has faced since Grenfell.

I could not agree with you more about the way it has gone beyond of the call of duty in helping with the coronavirus response, particularly the harrowing task of collecting the bodies of those who have perished.

The impressive new Fire Commissioner, Andy Roe, knows much needs to be done to bring the brigade up to scratch — but also that it must regain the trust of Londoners and its place in the heart of our communities. Its coronavirus response shows it is alive to the importance of the latter.

Ross Lydall,

City Hall Editor