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Fire Response Times Increase - Lewisham Council to Support Rentention of Forest Hill Fire Engine


Lewisham Labour has tabled a motion at Lewisham Council's full Council meeting on Wednesday, 20th January 2016 supporting the retention of thirteen fire engines taken out of service by London Mayor's Boris Johnson's personal direction.

The majority of London Fire Emergency and Planning Authority members support a fully costed budget to retain the 13 fire engines.

The motion - proposed by Cllr Alan Hall and seconded by Peter Bernards - comes as fresh figures have been released to Lewisham's Overview and Scrutiny Committee, showing that fire engine response times have worsened in 2015/16 by a further 2 seconds for the first fire engine and a further 17 seconds for the second fire engine across the London Borough of Lewisham. The new figures for 2015/16 showed the average times to be 05:19 for the first engine and 07:11 for the second engine.

The figures confirm that Lewisham Borough's response times have deteriorated since 2012/13.

The second fire engine response time is important as the first crews cannot enter a building until they have been backed up by a second crew. The intensity of a fire can quadruple in just two minutes. Seconds can cost lives.

Councillor Alan Hall said: "It is alarming to hear that response times for the first and second fire engine across Lewisham are worsening. Since the closure of Downham Fire station and the removal of an engine from Forest Hill response times have rocketed. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is failing in his first duty which is to protect Londoners by proposing further cuts to our fire cover."

Forest Hill Fire Station is set to see its capacity reduced to one fire engine permanently. The new figures released to Lewisham Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee show that response times in Forest Hill have increased by 31 seconds for the first fire engine and by just under two minutes - 01.59 minutes for the second fire engine. The first fire engine arrives on average in 5 minutes 43 seconds whilst the second engine takes 9 minutes 9 seconds.

In seconding the motion, Forest Hill Councillor Peter Bernards said: "Fire response times in Forest Hill are set to get even worse if we permanently lose a fire engine from Forest Hill Fire Station. Response times in Forest Hill were hitting their target before Boris Johnson started his cuts. Now, I am really concerned as reduced cover means we are regularly outside the London Fire Brigade's own standards and seconds cost lives in a fire."

The London Fire Brigade target times are the first fire engine to arrive in 6 minutes and the second in 8 minutes.

Please respond to the public consultation support the retention of the 13 fire engines here: http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/consultation-2016-2017.asp

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