London’s Fire Cost Saving Plans; Risk and Reward Strategy?
Category : Fire Safety Blog
The 2016/17 budget, as recently announced, will see 13 fire engines be permanently decommissioned from London service in a bid to save over £8 million.
The logic behind the cost saving strategy is that the 13 identified engines have in fact lain idle for the past two years, thus will not be missed from the active service. However, there is some concern that these engines could have be used in case of severe emergency or to replace engines requiring repairs. The removal of these engines will leave 142 active vehicles throughout the entire capital.
Savings from the proposal will be partially invested into increasing the staff numbers of the Fire Rescue Units’ crew and to aid further advanced training. However, this has not stopped serious concern over the proposals including by the Fire Brigades’ Union whom released a statement declaring the policy ‘dangerous and reckless’ to permanently get rid of them with no intention of replacement.
The London Fire Brigade have released three plans to make the savings and insists that there will be no repercussions in regards to station closures or forcing firefighters to leave their jobs seeking new employment.
Despite the reduced number of engines in the past two years the Brigade claims to have continually and consistently met their target response times. Alternative proposals have been put forwards in the aftermath of the budget proposals including one by London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore. Dismore argued for re-instating the 13 fire engines and making savings by hiring alternate crewing for specialist appliances in certain stations. All the proposals were discussed on the 2nd of December and there is plans to consult the public in the debate on the best way to establish the required savings.
A spokesman of the FBU suggested that particularly in the dangerous international situation, in the wake of the Paris attacks, there is significant issues with reducing the numbers of fire engines. Also that ten stations were closed last year which increased the response times and they have particular worries that the reduction of engines would have a similar problem.