Fire crews’ time wasted over Hackney’s broken-lift call-outs

Firefighters to get tough over unnecessary lift rescues

Fire crews wasted precious time attending 69 call-outs to people stuck in broken-down lifts on just five Hackney Homes estates last year.

But under new rules to be introduced next month, landlords and businesses face extra charges if the London Fire Brigade is called out more than three times to the same property – in a bid to make them maintain their lifts properly.

Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, said: “Too many people are still wasting our firefighters’ time.

“Firefighters need to be available to attend emergencies where it is a matter of life and death. It should not be left to us to clear up after those who do not properly maintain their lifts.”

He added that firefighters would always attend a call-out if was a real emergency.

Hackney was rated fourth worst out of all 33 London boroughs for the number of unnecessary firefighter call-outs.

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Since the charging system was introduced in 2009, the brigade has responded to 3,640 fewer calls for lift releases – equivalent to �1million of its time and resources.

A Hackney Homes spokeswoman said if someone was stuck in a lift and called Hackney Homes, an engineer would attend in one to three hours.

“We are working closely with the London Fire Brigade to ensure that when residents call them in a non-emergency situation, they refer this to Hackney Homes,” she added.