London fires fall by two-thirds in 10 years
08:40 24 January 2014
The number of fires in the fires in the capital has fallen significantly over the past decade - down from 157 daily in 2003/04 to a record-breaking 56 a day last year, according to new figures.
And just over the last 12 months there has been a 25 per cent fall, the London Fire Brigade said.
The Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) welcomed the “great news” but said it could not be used to justify future cuts to the fire service in London.
Six London boroughs reported a fall of 70 per cent in the past 10 years, and last year’s 56 fires daily represents the brigade’s lowest level on record.
Ron Dobson, commissioner of London Fire Brigade, said thousands of fires have been prevented by firefighters carrying out home safety visits.
“Despite the capital’s growing population, Londoners are less likely than ever before to have a fire and people are much safer as a result,” he said.
“This dramatic drop is down to our fantastic targeted prevention work aimed at those most at risk, whether that be visiting vulnerable people in their homes or finding engaging ways to spread our messages through social media.”
Paul Embery, regional secretary for the FBU in London, said: “It is of course great news that the number of fires is decreasing, which will mean less danger for both the public and firefighters.
“As well as rescuing people and putting out fires, firefighters undertake important preventative work by visiting homes, workplaces and schools to talk about fire safety and make sure buildings are safe.
“Nevertheless, there are still over 100,000 incidents taking place every year, and recent cuts mean that our capacity to respond quickly and effectively has taken a big dent. It also remains a concern that the trend in fire deaths in London has risen since Boris Johnson came to power in 2008, and the reduction in the number of fires should not be used to conceal that.
“These figures cannot be used to justify further cuts to fire services in London.”
Earlier this month, 10 fire stations, including many which had served communities for decades, closed for good as part of savings drive by Boris Johnson.
The Mayor has insisted the closures will not affect safety in the capital, though the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) warned he faced having “blood on his hands”.