Analysis by London Assembly Labour Group Fire Spokesperson Dr Fiona Twycross AM has shown that fire brigade response times have gone up in over 370 London wards since the Mayor forced through the closure of 10 London fire stations in January this year. Average response times for London have increased from 5:18 to 5:30 for the first fire engine response with the second response time also increasing from 6:28 to 6:51.
Initial analysis of the figures provided to Assembly Members show that Londoners in 214 of the capital’s wards now have to wait more than the six minute target time before help arrives, with 141 wards missing the 8 minute arrival target for a second fire service appliance.
Since the fire station closures in January which also saw 14 fire engines removed from service, a total of 37 wards have seen first response times increase by over a minute compared with 2012/13 data. Dr Twycross said the number of areas missing the 6 minute target shows that despite assurances from the Mayor, his cuts to the fire service have increased the threat to public safety.
The figures also include areas where 13 additional fire engines have been removed in order to cover potential strikes, further degrading response times. Dr Twycross called for these appliances to be returned outside of strike periods to ensure full cover across the capital.
London Assembly Labour Group Fire Spokesperson, Fiona Twycross AM, said:
“Fires can take hold in seconds that’s why any increase in response times can be so dangerous. As a result of Boris Johnson’s decision to close ten fire stations and with the removal of a further 13 fire engines, even when they are not needed for strike cover, we have seen response times rise in over half of the capital’s wards.
“Londoners will be deeply concerned that since the closures it could take significantly longer for a fire engine to reach their home. These latest figures show is that in most of London’s wards it will now take longer to get to fires than it did last year.”
“The Mayor has an important duty to protect the public. He needs to ask himself whether closing ten fire stations and removing 27 fire engines is really the best way to achieve that. Given the jump in response times since the fire station closures, it is very fortunate that we have not seen an increase in serious incidents as a result.”