Plans to axe fire engines are “incredibly dangerous”
- Credit: Archant
A proposal to axe 13 fire engines across the capital including one engine in Shoreditch will “put people’s lives at risk”.
Paul Embery, London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) regional secretary, has issued the warning ahead of a consultation’s closing date on February 1.
Last week, firefighters and the public gathered to hear and share views on how LFB will attempt to meet the £?6.4m of budget savings demanded by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson for 2016/17.
Mr Embery said: “We (The Fire Brigade Union) are completely opposed to the scrapping of any fire engines, it’s an incredibly dangerous proposal.
“Losing the engines is going to put people’s lives at risk and people are going to die as a result.”
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At the meeting in Stratford last Wednesday, head of the fire brigade Ron Dobson defended his preference to axe the engine in Shoreditch, along with 12 others across the capital.
Mr Dobson maintained that the 13 engines affected had already been out of action for two-and-a-half years – and therefore the change wouldn’t have any impact on response times.
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He said: “I know it’s been a time of uncertainty.
“Unfortunately having them back wouldn’t give the certainty. The only way to give back certainty is not to give them back at all.
“It would be better to face up to the loss of engines than have them for a few more months.”
Mr Embery has described Mr Dobson’s comments as “stupid” and “ridiculous”.
He added: “The idea that not bringing back engines will provide certainty or aid the safety of the public is stupid and ridiculous.
“It’s not a belief that anyone on the frontline in the fire service supports.”
Mr Embery believes the borough has already been disproportionately affected after the capital lost 10 stations, 14 engines and 600 frontline jobs back in 2014.
Kingsland fire station was one of 10 stations shut down in January 2014.
He said: “The data shows that after the cuts in 2014, response times went up across London so further cuts will only makes things harder and reduce public safety.
“I am going out to meetings everyday to speak to firefighters and they are clear that the fire engines should not be axed, they understand that losing them will severely impact public safety.”
An alternative proposal set out by Andrew Dismore AM, chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Resource Committee, looks to make the savings by changing working patterns and through back office efficiencies.
People are now being urged to have their say before next Monday when the consultation closes at 5pm.
Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority Gareth Bacon AM, said: “Don’t miss out on the chance to have your say on our budget proposals and how the authority can save £6.4m.
“Over the past eight weeks we’ve held public meetings and talked to a number of stakeholders but in order to have your voice heard then fill out our consultation questionnaire before 5pm on Monday.”
You can have your say by visiting http://bit.ly/lfepa-have-your-say.