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Connectedness

29 Oct

wolf strength

I have blogged on Unity before, much of what I want to say about connectedness is really just repeating myself, that’s never put me off before and won’t now! 😉

In today’s society we have, in the main, been encouraged to become apathetic and divorced from feeling the connections between us and other beings.  Most of us look at the differences between another and our self and use this as a barrier to relational connections.  We label people groups, in ways that increase our self-righteousness in doing so and minimise our responsibility to critically think about the process and consequences of this state of being.

That seems to me to be how governments get away with poor, unjust behaviour; unless it directly affects us or our immediate circles we brush it aside and ignore.  I would like to encourage people to see how important it is to stand up for as many different types of people group as possible.  Who knows when you may need someone to stand with you?

I am particularly conscious of the injustices being foisted upon the police, the firefighters, lawyers, probation officers, paramedics, nurses, doctors, teachers to name but a few!

In order to function as a healthy society we need to acknowledge the vital role these groups carry out to make our lives better.  If you are fortunate enough to have never needed any services from any of these groups you are in a very small minority! Think again…where would you be now if these people did not exist?  Just because their roles seem invisible to you does not mean that you would not be adversely impacted if they were not there far from it!

We may not agree with the institutions that they are serving, but they can be changed, possibly more by our encouragement and support in their struggles with government than any other way!

How about reevaluating what you casually think about them by trying to actively find out, for yourself, exactly what they are struggling against and draw alongside?  This doesn’t mean passively accepting everything, discerning evaluation is vital and shortcomings MUST be challenged!

You may find friends and relational connections that surprise and enrich you as you come to clearer understanding of what they do, for ALL of us.

Be a Goose!

12 Jul

Geese-in-V-formation-008

 

(Image via Guardian.com)

I’m pretty sure that I am not the only one who has made a parallel between the turn taking of Geese in their V formation and healthy human self care…

It struck me that as a person who supports others it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking your needs are secondary, or sometimes, heavens forbid, that you are the essential part. This is not conducive to psychological wellbeing.  Stress is a killer.

I want to remind myself and bore you with the fact that sharing the strain of being at the front or main supporter:  ideally with work colleagues,  is the best way of covering the most ground (air 😉) and making sure that no one is left behind!

I am particularly mindful of the peer support that *protectors* in all their guises can access if they are prepared to remove their masks…

 

Guest Post: Unity is Strength Via @John_maggsFBU

16 May

Time for FBU members to stick together

The FBU executive council met yesterday to discuss the latest developments in the current pensions dispute, at the end of which they decided no further strike dates will be announced at present but consultation would continue with members over the coming days. Word got around on Twitter yesterday evening followed by much criticism from our members, no doubt formed by frustration, at the perceived current lack of activity.

Obviously none of us want to strike as we are well aware of the moral issues the striking of an emergency service brings, but the majority of us feel that when all avenues have been explored, withdrawing our labour is the very last option.

All members must now remember we are part of a very successful democratic organisation where all national officers (including negotiators) and EC members are in their positions following a fair and democratic process. Also, nothing has changed about the remit of the people negotiating on members’ behalf: to achieve the best result from negotiations as possible for all members. This may mean a judgement has to be called as to whether the threat strike is the best option at a particular point in negotiations or not. That is for the EC to decide on member’s behalf taking into account all the information available to them.

There is absolutely no doubt that negotiations are continuing, with movement being seen on the Government’s side, due to one very big reason: When called upon to do so Firefighters have downed tools and walked out of their workplaces, albeit with reluctance, and have stood strong, proud and in unity. This has sent a very clear message to the Government that FBU members are up for a fight, will stand shoulder to shoulder and declare that current proposals are unacceptable. Together with strong campaigning, gaining public support and political pressure, FBU members have made this a highly effective battle.

Following the release of the latest circular, it is imperative that all FBU members stay united, trust the negotiators and the EC members who make democratic decisions, and not to argue amongst ourselves. There is still a battle to be had and plenty of action to be taken: lobby your MP, talk to the public, distribute leaflets, attend branch meetings and discuss the dispute with each other.

This dispute is currently in a very important stage. Being seen to be united is an important message to send to the Government. Venting your frustration to the EC in the open on social media will give the impression of a disjointed campaign and weakened union. Stand strong in unity and we will make a difference, turn on each other and we can wait for the floodgates to open and lose everything we have fought so hard for. Keep up the fight but know who you are fighting against.

Unity is strength

John Maggs

Brigade Organiser

Avon FBU

Thank you

5 Jan

Guest blog by @savesouthwark:

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With the assistance of our good friend Jules (@julieanneda), now seemed the right time to put down in words our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you who has supported our campaign to try and keep Southwark and nine other London fire stations open. 140 characters on Twitter would never have allowed us to do justice in adequately conveying such thanks to you all. To thank each and every one of you individually would be a massive task and whilst we would happily do so, we would be equally concerned that we had left somebody out in error.

Why we have ended up where we are is well documented. Our starting point right from the very beginning was that if the station was to close, we would leave knowing that we had done everything possible to prevent such a thing from happening.

On many an occasion we were told it was pointless, but at no point did we ever give up. We have attended numerous Tenants & Residents Association meetings, delivered in excess of 5000 leaflets, hit the road and attended numerous Borough consultation meetings, engaged with the local and national media and maintained a presence on Twitter, Facebook and on our website.

Twitter has been an inspiration to us and has allowed all the London fire stations to have a voice and engage with the public throughout the campaign. Hands up, we didn’t have a clue what we were doing at the beginning, but with the help and advice we received from so many of you, we’d like to think we got there in the end. There are ever growing numbers of fire stations, police officers, paramedics, nursing staff, coastguard officers etc. taking to Twitter and other social media. Whilst there are many pitfalls that one can come across in doing so, with care and attention to what is being said you need not fall foul of any guidelines. We would urge every fire station in London and beyond to consider having a social media presence. Being on Twitter and Facebook has allowed us to engage with so many great people and receive some fantastic advice too. It’s also kept us going when inspiration was low. But most importantly of all, regardless of the outcome, it gave US a voice.

As this is being written our four watches will be coming to the end of their final shifts at the station. It’s not lost on us that there has been a fire station at the current location in Southwark since 1878 when Captain Sir Eyre Massey Shaw was Chief Officer of the LFB’s predecessor, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Quite what he would make of it is anybody’s guess. Though interestingly, it is reported that when his Fire Brigade was taken over by the London County Council in 1889, he disagreed with the administration and resigned in 1891.

In closing, we’d like to pay tribute to all the fire-fighters and officers at Southwark Fire Station, the fire-fighters and officers at the nine other stations listed to close (Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Westminster and Woolwich) and to our colleagues at surrounding stations, not affected by closure but none the less who supported the campaign, for all their hard work and campaigning.  Additionally, we’d like to thank the FBU-London Region and all of you who wrote such great blogs.

Our last thanks go to you, the public. We have been humbled by the support we have received throughout and couldn’t have carried on without you. Thank you for all the advice, comments and encouragement. You have been outstanding.

From the Red, Blue, White and Green Watches of Southwark Fire Station, thank you.

Fire Warning

21 Dec

wolf in fire2

As well as the public, Firefighter’s lives will be at risk due to Government austerity cuts, writes John Maggs, Avon FBU Health & Safety Coordiator.  I am delighted to host his writing here: 

You can follow him on twitter @john_maggsfbu

As well as the public, Firefighter’s lives will be at risk due to Government austerity cuts, writes John Maggs, Avon FBU Health & Safety Coordiator.

It has just been confirmed that the citizens and workers of London are to lose 10 fire stations in less than three weeks’ time as part of a cost cutting plan.  These will by no means be the only fire stations to close or lose appliances and firefighters in the near future due to austerity measures.  All over the UK cuts are being made to emergency services.  The total cost of the fire and rescue service per year is just £44 per adult, less than £1 per week.  However, over the last three years, as part of the Government’s spending review, drastic cuts to Government funding to local authorities, including Fire & Rescue Services have been made.  David Cameron’s pre-election pledge to protect front line fire services has been broken.  The question is how will this affect the safety of, not only the public, but also the firefighters who are left?

Nine firefighters died whilst on duty between April 2007 and March 2008, the worst 12 month period since 1985, with the deaths of four firefighters in Warwickshire in 2007 being the most tragic single incident since 1972.  The trend for firefighter deaths was falling until the turn of the century, and then started to rise significantly afterwards.  This led the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) to commission the Labour Research Department (LRD) to research and produce a report into the rise of firefighter fatalities.  The resulting document In the Line of Duty was published in September 2008.  This report detailed how firefighters died and how an “on duty” fatality is defined.  It also attempted to establish why the trend has increased and laid out several recommendations to improve the situation.

Since the publication of this report, there have been four more fatalities, one in Edinburgh in 2009 and two in Southampton in 2010 and one in Manchester this year.  Clearly the fatality rate of on-duty firefighters is continuing.  Any workplace death is a tragedy but an increase in avoidable deaths is criminal!

The report also touches upon the distinct possibility of firefighter deaths through work related diseases.  Very little research has been carried out in UK, but there has been research carried out in USA concluding firefighters are at much greater risk of certain cancers and other diseases than other groups due to many factors such as long term exposure to toxins (including asbestos), repeated exposure to high temperatures and even unusual sleep patterns through shift working.  How many firefighters die an early death, post retirement from work related diseases is unknown.

The document concludes that a possible reason for the increased on –duty deaths is due to the Government devolving national standards of fire cover, incident attendances, training and procedures to individual Fire Authorities who are tasked with devising their own standards through an Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP).

Another document that needs considering is the FBU’s Critical Attendance Standard (CAST) planning scenarios which lays out the minimum number of firefighters required to safely carry out a task at any given scenario. Examples are: a small outdoor fire (4 firefighters), a house fire confined to one room (10) and a high rise fire, again confined to one room (13).  It’s important to emphasise the word minimum; if any of the above escalates, extra resources will need to be at the scene as soon as possible.

Now we get down to the problem; a few years back, many Fire Authorities started to make budgetary cuts to their Services, justified, through their IRMP, by claiming  programmes of fire safety education to the public would mean less incidents to attend.  Their logic followed if there are less incidents then less resources, ie. firefighters, would be required to attend.  Although fire safety work is vitally important, it doesn’t take a genius to work out the flaw in this thinking: less fires does not mean smaller, less dangerous fires.  Even so resources attending incidents were reduced and attendance times increased.

To give a couple of examples then:  A burning vehicle will generate a lot of heat and extremely toxic smoke; there is also a danger of explosions due to a tank full of fuel  and compressed gas activated air bags and seatbelt tensioners.  CAST states a minimum of five firefighters need to be in attendance to allow two properly supervised firefighters wearing breathing apparatus to fight the fire with an adequate water supply.  With some Fire & Rescue Services cutting this to a crew of three in a mini appliance with a small water tank (or even one on a motorbike with a foam extinguisher!), the firefighters are left in a vulnerable position, possibly exposed to toxins, inadequate water supply and supervision.  If anything goes wrong, firefighters are in real danger in what should be a straight forward incident.

Moving up to a more serious fire in a high rise block, CAST says a minimum of 13 firefighters are required, but this is for a small single room fire.  Such fires have a habit of escalating due to wind driving the flames as windows fail and poor ventilation pushing temperatures up to several hundred degrees.  Add this to this the amount of water needed to be pumped up several floors, zero visibility and the danger of obstacles, especially entanglement in electrical cables collapsing onto firefighters (a real problem contributing to firefighter deaths), and the dangers rapidly increase.  If extra resources aren’t available quickly, Firefighter will be in real danger as evidence shows-  four firefighters have recently died in such scenarios.

On top of the ‘Spending Review’ (cuts!) the Fire & Rescue Service also faces recommendations made in the recently published  Chief Fire Officers Association spending review, which calls for ‘efficiency savings’ (read more cuts!), the indications are cuts will continue for many years to come.  Despite FBU’s response in their Facing Reality document, every FRS is expected to make several million pounds worth of savings.  With the biggest proportion of the budget of any Service being the wage bill it is clear how best to save money – cut jobs.  Over the next few years significant cuts will be made across the UK to the amount of front line firefighters.  Fire appliances are being withdrawn from service and stations are closing.  This means in many instances less firefighters will be sent to each incident.  Where standards are kept and the same level of response is sent, those resources will take longer to reach the incidents allowing fires to develop.  This in turn may mean further resources are required more often, which will of course take longer to arrive.  No great mathematics are required to see that this will put the firefighters already in attendance in more danger as they attempt to contain a rapidly expanding fire or search for casualties in a burning building.  It is a very real fear of mine that more firefighters and members of the public will be killed and severely injured as a direct result of austerity measures.  Even without the life risk, a fire to personal property, especially your home is devastating.  If you dial 999 you expect and deserve a rapid response, the fire service will never arrive quickly enough for you.  This is a fear shared by FBU who published It’s About Time in answer to the drop in standards.

Further, great strides have been made internationally into the science of fire behaviour in recent years.  If the knowledge is used properly, firefighting techniques can become much safer.  However, this knowledge needs to be passed onto the firefighters who need to apply it in a practical manner, or that knowledge is useless.  The only way to do this is through a robust training plan.

So what needs to be done?  First of all the Government needs to rethink their spending plan regarding the fire service, along with all the other emergency services (where the dangers are also increasing).  We need a fire service that can provide adequate resources for the job in hand with a fast response when back up is called for; that means more fire appliances adequately crewed.  We need firefighters who are given the very best equipment available which can be relied upon.  We need adequate training facilities and training time for all firefighters so they can practice the very latest techniques in order to protect themselves and the public.  We need a fit workforce capable of doing the onerous work they are often called to do.

Only when the Government, not only rethinks its ‘Spending Review’ of the emergency services, but starts putting more into its resources, can a Fire & Rescue Service be rebuilt that is suitable for protecting the public, and the firefighters providing the service. The public deserve a fire & rescue service fit for our modern times.

 

 

Why I support the fire fighter’s strike

13 Dec

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I support the fire fighter’s in their strike against the government’s decision to increase their working age, change the terms of the pension that they signed up for, and to make harsh cuts to their service. Just as I do for the police service.

Most of us are woefully ignorant of the wide remit of the challenging work that you do. I know it’s not simply fire fighting or rescue work. It’s prevention also.

I remember as a small child the house next door burning from an electrical fault. I remember the smell of burnt flesh. It seered into my consciousness in a way that I can’t ever describe.  You put yourselves out there for a barely adequate living wage. Trying to protect us mostly from ourselves.

As populations grow despite the tremendous preventative work you do. Incidents will occur. Accidents on roads etc.  I want to know that you are there. Within 5 mins of me or my family and friends.  I want to know that your service to us is fairly paid and adequately rewarded.  I want to know that you are fully equipped. 

Surely that is not too much to expect?

Keep fighting for us please. Stay unified and strong. If you can weaken the paralytic grip the gvt has on emergency services then it becomes more possible for the rest of the public sector to succeed also.

The frail excuse of austerity is not the whole truth.  Most people are seeing it’s lies now as the reaction to the MPs wage increase shows.

Even if it were true there are some services that are essential.  The infrastructure of the country needs a stable core.  Fire, police are part of that core as are ambulances,  hospitals and schools.

You ALL provide the framework that our society is undepinned by. Thank you for that.

Jules

Fire Service

18 Nov

Another excellent guest post via  @Artemiska999

Thank you!

00:00:46
Added on 23/11/2010
1,487 views

Dear Friends,

Over 9,200 of us have signed!  Thank you for signing the petition, “Save our fire stations”.  Please can you continue to the word by forwarding the link below to your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues?

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-our-firestations

Save London Fire Stations 10 (SLFS10) will be holding another Red Balloon Event at the London High Court on 26 November to coincide with the judicial review of the decision to close these stations.  Please contact them for more details:savelondonfirestations10@gmail.com.

These closures will affect us all and make us vulnerable at home, at work, at school, at university, on the bus, on the underground, on the train, on our bikes, in a restaurant, in the cinema.  Mr Cleverly, Chair of LFEPA and appointed by the Mayor to that position, describes LSP5, the plan which on 9 January 2014 will decimate the London Fire Brigade, as “risk based”.  It is not risk-based.  A risk-based plan would not equate places with low density of population like Orpington with places with high density of population like Kingsland or Westminster.  It would not equate Stanmore with Southwark, the borough where fire deaths have increased by 300% in the last few years, or Clerkenwell.

The plan is not risk-based.  Is it based on a competent model?

Recent fire incidents have shown that fires do not queue up politely and wait their turn.  For example, on 24 October, crews were busy at St Thomas’s Hospital.  This required engines from Southwark (due to close), Westminster (due to close), Lambeth and Dowgate.  Lambeth will be taking over Westminster’s responsibilities and Dowgate will take over Southwark’s after 9 January.

At the same time there was an incident in Warwick Way which needed four engines, including two engines from Brixton.

Or there was the fire on Oxford St.  Soho, the nearest station, was already busy.  It took the first engine, Knightsbridge (due to close) 11 minutes to get there.  The target for the first engine under LSP5 is 6 minutes.

There are questions about the competency of the model. So is the plan based on cost?  Yes, it does seem that money is the driver of this plan, but perhaps not in the way one would hope.  Allegedly, the Mayor wants to make £28.8 million savings this year by cutting these ten fire stations:

Belsize, a Grade II* listed building, already being viewed by free schools

Bow, a busy station

Clerkenwell, a Grade II listed Building, also being earmarked as a free school

Downham, a busy station

Kingsland, a busy station in an area of high-density population. Property prices rising due to Crossrail

Knightsbridge, a busy station, just behind Harrods and located in a conservation area

Silvertown, located in the crash zone for the City Airport and in an area approved by the Mayor in June 2013 for £1.5 billion redevelopment

Southwark, a Grade II listed building and a busy station. 26 fire deaths in the last five years, making it the deadliest borough. Also being eyed as a free school location.

Westminster, a Grade II listed building and a busy station. Located in a terror zone which is also 75% conservation area. Station for Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and Houses of Parliament

Woolwich, a Grade II listed building and also busy.

In 2010, Southwark Fire Station was valued conservatively at £10 million.  LFEPA at its recent meeting to discuss disposal of the ten fire station sites estimated their value at £50 million (which is questionable, given the value of Southwark alone).  Is the driver of LSP5 the value of the station?  Is LSP5 about delivering safety or harvesting a one-off windfall?

The Mayor will tell you that fire deaths are down.  That much is true (down but not by much).  That is because fire fighters do home fire risk assessment visits where they also fit smoke alarms for free.  They visit schools and universities, housing estates and high rise buildings, making sure to visit the old and disabled.  If LSP5 goes ahead, the stations taking over the duties of the closed stations will not have time to do more home safety visits in addition to their existing workloads.  They will not have the capacity to absorb that.  Westminster’s nearest station will be south across the river in Lambeth, but Lambeth is already busy.  Southwark’s nearest station will be north across the river in Dowgate, a busy station which also serves the City.  So will the Mayor send firefighters from outlying, less busy stations into central London to do these visits?

Why do we have fire stations?  For much the same reason that we have home, travel or car insurance.  Fire fighters and fire stations are insurance and the majority of us to date have not needed OUR fire stations and OUR firefighters to rescue us from a road traffic accident, chemical spillage, gas leak, flood, helicopter accident, terrorist attack, smoke-filled station or a fire.

Mayor Boris Johnson’s plans will change that.  And, just as President George Bush said, “Read my lips: no tax increase” before breaking that pre-election promise immediately upon election, Mr Johnson promised no fire cuts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlNCf82iIBE

We should have a properly-funded fire service.  The Mayor has stated that one cycle death in one too many (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24932541).

I agree.  Later he says, “Every death in London’s streets is one too many.”

He will spend £386 million over three years on cycling.  Yet he will cut £45 million over two years from the London Fire Brigade (and recoup at least £50 million by selling them).

Surely every fire death is also one too many? Please save YOUR fire stations.

Thank you

Artemis

Support Systems

24 Sep

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Tomorrow the Fire Fighters are staging a 4 hour strike from noon to protect their pensions, their terms of employment and to oppose the cuts to the service across the board.

This has been done to many other services including the Police.  There are 3 other blogs on this site outlining more information on this subject which can be found here

http://wp.me/p31Nc4-kK

 http://wp.me/p31Nc4-k9

http://wp.me/s31Nc4-firefire

I am sure that the Government and Media will do their very best to discredit and vilify the Fire Fighters it is their way.

They do not want the public to support any who stand up to their crass, shortsighted policies which do nothing to protect and serve us but gives much opportunity for those in the know to make mega money off of our backs.

I am sure that many will be tutting at the Fire Fighters for putting lives at risk.  We are being provided with volunteers apparently during this time.

I KNOW that if anything kicked off they would return to their posts and jump in.  The Government knows this too.  It does not suit their agenda to let you know that they are aware of this fact.

They want you to see them as money grabbing opportunists who want an easier shorter working life which they supplement with second jobs.

To me this is absolute crap.  To me this describes the greatest majority of MPs.  Our Public Servants who across all parties voted for a pay rise.   Who across all parties began to interfere into Public Services they know little or nothing about.  This has not been done without the complicity of the High Ranks.

Remember all this and please start to do something proactive to change it.

Liars promises

Today I am angry

11 Sep

ImageThe day started well. I got up and travelled to City Hall to support the Fire Fighters of London in their struggle against Fire Cuts.  By the time I arrived the chamber was full so I joined many fire fighters in the lobby. Many had come from end of shifts or prior to shifts to be there. They waited good humouredly.  Then it was revealed that many of the seats in the chamber were filled by what seemed to be plants. A bit like human filibustering. Paranoid we were told by @JamesCleverly via twitter. Really? The chamber usually full is it?

To add insult to injury the TV in the lobby showing the meeting had the sound turned off. Even after polite requests the sound was not put on.

I went off for a coffee. The meeting finished. strangely the sound was now audible on the foyer TV.

We already have clear evidence that Boris Johnson does not listen to democratic votes. We see that he doesn’t listen to expert advice in any area unless it matches with his own views.

Is this what we deserve? Is this the friendly bumbling clown that we have been lulled into believing Boris is, or is this a sinister and deliberate ploy?

I left City Hall and went away. My peace is gone. I feel utterly betrayed by the Mayor. I feel utterly betrayed by a system that can be vetoed by someone despite all the relevant votes in committee going against them.

Is this what we deserve? We are today on 9/11 anniversary a sombre and tragic event whatever political slant you give it. The people who died there at the time or subsequently because they were responders need to be remembered.

What I am afraid of is a possible date in London’s future where a disaster occurs by any means. Where there are not adequate fire appliances or personnel to deal. Where all our emergency services are overwhelmed.

I believe that pressing ahead with these cuts makes such a day more and more inevitable.

All our emergency services are there to deal and be an insurance against the possibility of needing to be used. This is not a luxury this is essential.

Why are we all not doing more to state this unequivocally to our government.

Enough is enough.

NB: today I have been told by @JamesCleverly that he doesn’t reply to my tweets as he has not seen anything worth replying to!

 

#FireFire

19 Jul

 FireFire

I have taken the liberty of reproducing the consultation document that @SaveSouthwark have shared via their website  savesouthwarkfirestation.org

I firmly believe that everyone should read it and keep up the pressure to prevent cuts to Fire Services.

I know it is a long document but PLEASE read it through to the end.  Sobering reading.    Jules aka @julieanneda

Introduction: 

‘We are taking a risk based approach to providing fire cover in London.’

James Cleverly, chairman of the LFEPA – 12th May Public consultation – GLA headquarters.  

The aim of this document is to demonstrate that the proposed closures of Southwark & New Cross Fire Stations coupled with the removal of the second pump at Peckham Fire Station is based on a model that does not reflect the risks in the surrounding built environment.

The model does not take into consideration the exceptional nature of the risks associated with Southwark Borough in terms of social deprivation and population demographics.

The proposed implementation of LSP5 does not take into account the significant additional reduction in fire cover for a 3 year period whilst PFI rebuilding works at Old Kent Road Fire Station and Dockhead Fire Station are undertaken.

This document will directly contradict the claim that LSP5 uses a risk based model and that implementation of the LSP5 proposals as they stand will disproportionately, dangerously and unfairly impact those who live in, work in and visit LB Southwark.

We wish for this document to be considered as part of the LSP5 consultation process.

 

We also want you to reconsider LSP5 in its current format and that the proposal to close E33 Southwark Fire Station is withdrawn

 

 

Implementation of LSP5 in its current format will:

 

  • Dangerously and disproportionately see a reduction in essential fire cover in LB Southwark.
    • LB Southwark has had more fire deaths than any other London borough over the last 10 years (34 compared with the London average of 17) and 27,808 fires (compared with the London average of 11,103). Yet fire cover is due to be cut by 1/3.

 

  • Further endanger the residents of LB Southwark by not taking PFI station closures into consideration
    • As PFI will see another 1/3 of fire cover relocated out of LB Southwark. The cumulative effect of PFI and LSP5 will see additional increases to the attendance times above those that have been published, and upon which the plan is based.
  • Increase the risk of fire, injury & death within a socially deprived and transient population of people
    • Due to a longer wait for sufficient fire crews to arrive on scene.
  • Fail to take into consideration the fact that 75% of residential accommodation in LB Southwark is high rise
    • And therefore requires 3 or more fire appliances to implement LFB high rise procedure and ‘safe systems of work’.
  • Adversely affect attendance times in all LB Southwark Wards
    • As is clearly evident from LFB’s own ward data provided in LSP5 supporting document 22
    • Increase the severity of fires
  • Increase attendance times in Wards with the highest number of fires and total incidents by over a minute and a half for the 1st & 2nd appliances
  • Seriously contradicting the assertion that LSP5 is ‘risk based’, with the Ward experiencing the highest number of fire incidents seeing the highest increase in attendance times.
  • Create unacceptable delays in Fire Crews tackling high rise incidents
    • As fire-fighting does not start when crews ‘arrive’ at the Ground Floor of a high rise block. Research has shown it takes up to an additional 20 minutes to safely get high rise procedure implemented and fire-fighting operations underway.
  • Put Fire Fighters at increased risk of injury or death
    • Because the increase in attendance times will result in fire fighters attending more severe fires, which will be compounded by a longer wait for essential back up.

 

  • Have a detrimental effect on the volume of Community engagement and preventative work currently undertaken by the LB Southwark Fire Stations
    • A reduction of 2 fire appliances equates to 864 less HFSV’s per year and 6,328 less Community Fire Safety hours, at current target levels.
  • Detrimentally impact the ability of Fire Crews to carry out familiarisation visits on high risk premises
    • Central London Fire Stations currently have some of the most extensive and demanding visit schedules. By increasing workloads on surrounding stations, the time available to carry out inspections will be reduced and the quality of inspections will inevitably suffer.    This is contrary to LFB’s response to the Coroner’s Report (under Rule 43, recommendation 2) for the Lakanal House fire deaths inquest, where Commissioner Ron Dobson advised that LFB would “Create an inspection regime that targets high priority residential and non-residential buildings with a view to increasing the number of premises records which are available to the Brigade’s operational staff on the Operational Risk database”
  • Increase the cost of fire to LB Southwark, a borough which is already significantly financially deprived
    • The public money saved, by the fire cover reductions proposed in LSP5, will be more than cancelled out by the increase in fires and fire severity. Demonstrating that the rationale behind these cuts simply doesn’t add up.
  • Impact LFB’s ability to develop and share as best practice, the kind of successful projects that has benefited both LFB pan-London and the London Borough of Southwark.
    • As the watch officers and fire fighters at E33 Southwark Fire Station have consistently been prepared to embrace and commit to new projects and equipment development. Making invaluable contributions in this area.

 

 

 

Contents:

  • Summary                                                                                                                                     page 4
  • Borough Fire station profiles                                                                                                  page 6
  • Borough Demographic Profile                                                                                                page 7
  • LB Southwark Property profile: Residential                                                                         page 10
  • LB Southwark Property profile: Commercial                                                                       page 11
  • Current Fire Prevention Measures in LB Southwark                                                           page 13
  • Operational Considerations                                                                                                    page 16
  • Attendance times                                                                                                                      page 18
  • Economic Cost of Fire                                                                                                              page 23
  • LFB Policy & Project Development                                                                                        page 24
  • Conclusion                                                                                                                                  page 25
  • Appendices                                                                                                                                 page 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary:            

  • Station Profiles:
    • The closure of E33 Southwark and E38 New Cross along with the removal of E37 Peckham’s pump, will dangerously reduce the level of fire cover in LB Southwark.  The proposals contained in LSP5 effectively remove a third of the fire cover for LB Southwark.
    • In addition the LSP5 proposals have been developed with no consideration to the significant redevelopment works being undertaken at Old Kent Road and Dockhead which will close both of those stations during the redevelopment works, reducing fire cover in the borough by a further third.
  • Demographic Profile:
    • LB Southwark is one of the most densely populated & risk laden areas in the country for vulnerable populations and already suffers an above average number of fires and the highest number of fire deaths in London.
    • The model LFB has applied does not recognize this specificity of risk and that by removing vital fire cover, LFB will be directly contravening their own strategy as laid down in LSP5 and the number of fires, fatalities and injuries, along with the severity of those fires, will increase.
  • Fire Statistics:
    • The model refers only to average attendance times and makes no acknowledgment to the average frequency of calls or the severity of fires.   LB Southwark has the highest average fire fatality statistics in London over a ten year period along with significantly higher averages for injuries, rescues and frequency of incidents including primary fires. Accidental dwelling fires are increasing in the borough, contrary to the average London trend.
  • Property Profile:
    • LB Southwark is the largest social landlord in the Capital.  Of the 130,000 recorded households around 40,000 are local Authority properties. A further proportion are owned by other significant social landlords such as Peabody, Guinness Trust and City of London Corporation.
    • Many of these premises are within areas of significant social deprivation.  Approximately 75% of residential premises within the borough fall within the LFB definition of high rise premises.
    • At the opposing end of the risk matrix there are multi million pound developments such as the Shard, GuysHospital and major transport hubs.
  • Fire Prevention and pre planning:
    • The LFB model does not recognise this time intensive and high profile work e.g. The Shard, GuysHospitaletc and makes no adequate provision to maintain the level of proactive pre-planning.
  • Operational Considerations:
    • LBS is one of the most densely populated and risk laden areas in the country for vulnerable populations with a significant proportion of its risk being commercial and residential high rise.
    • The reduction in fire cover will directly impact the arrival time of resources with a corresponding detrimental effect on the severity of all incidents occurring within the borough’s risk matrix.
  • Attendance Times:
    • The model LFB has applied does not recognise the specificity of risk with attendance times.  It does not take into account the actual arrival time at the upper floor of a high rise premises.
    • The average times for first appliance arrival will increase by 26 seconds, the second appliance average attendance time will increase by 38 seconds.
    • Figures haven’t been produced for the third and fourth appliances.
    • The increased times will seriously compromise the effectiveness of the initial attendance.
  • Economic Cost of Fire:
    • DCLG figures give the estimated cost of dwelling fires within the borough at just under £18million per year. 
    • The removal of borough resources for prevention, protection and response will have a significant impact on our ability to reduce this figure. .

Across all categories of incident LBS has considerably higher incident rates including fire fatalities, than the   London average and yet is suffering disproportionately in the context of reduction in cover.

In simple terms the LFB model makes no sense when you deconstruct it, as it removes resources from the most risk laden area of London and replaces them in some areas where there is a much lower risk and frequency of almost all types of incident.

Borough Fire Station Profiles:  Impact of LSP5 closures and PFI remodeling works

Southwark Fire Station (E33) in LB Southwark is a 1 appliance station & covers approx 20% of Newington Ward as well as Chaucer, Cathedrals & 50% of East Walworth Wards.

  • Southwark Fire Station is on the list of 12 stations to be closed under LSP5

Peckham Fire Station (E37) in LB Southwark is a 2 appliance station & covers Peckham, BrunswickPark, Camberwell Green & part of S Camberwell Wards.

  • Peckham Fire Station is on the list of 7 stations to lose a fire appliance under LSP5

 

Old Kent Road Fire Station (E35) in LB Southwark is a 2 appliance station which also houses a Turntable Ladder & covers 50% of East Walworth Ward & 50% of Livesey Ward along with Faraday & Grange Wards

  • Old Kent Road Fire Station is due to be closed for at least 18 months whilst PFI remodelling works are undertaken.
  • The 2 appliances from Old Kent Road will be based and mobilised from Deptford Fire Station in LB Lewisham
  • The Turn Table Ladder will be located & mobilised from Dockhead Fire Station.

Dockhead Fire Station (E34) in LB Southwark is a 1 appliance station & covers Riverside Ward, Surrey Docks & part of Livesey Ward

  • Dockhead Fire Station is due to be closed for at least18 months whilst PFI remodelling works are undertaken.
  • The appliance from Dockhead will be based & mobilised from Deptford Fire Station in LB Lewisham during these works.

New Cross Fire Station (E38) is a 1 appliance station & is located in LB Lewisham but has LB Southwark’s Nunhead and Peckham Rye Wards within its station ground.  E38 regularly attends incidents requiring more than one fire appliance within the borough of Southwark.

  • New Cross fire station is on the list of 12 stations to be closed under LSP5

 

Lambeth Fire Station (H22) is a 2 appliance station & is located in LB Lambeth but has approx 80% of LB Southwark’s Newington Ward within its station ground.  H22 regularly attends incidents requiring more than one fire appliance within the borough of Southwark.

  • Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson is recorded as stating (at a planning hearing) that Lambeth fire station may be closed, if planning permission for the old HQ site cannot be agreed.
  • A planning appeal inquiry was dismissed  in May 2013

Summary:

  • The closure of E33 Southwark, E38 New Cross and the removal of the pump from E37 Peckham will dangerously and disproportionately see a reduction in essential fire cover in LB Southwark.
  • It is proposed that, even as a temporary measure while PFI remodeling works are completed, that E33 Southwark should not be closed, to maintain essential fire cover in LB Southwark.

Borough Demographic Profile:

In 2011 the population of LB Southwark was recorded as 288,717.  Over the next twenty years, the population is predicted to grow by 100,000 taking the estimated population to just under 400,000

 

LB Southwark is the 8th most densely populated local authority area in the UK; the largest social rented landlord in the UK & the 12th most deprived Borough in London.

The Ward of East Walworth, covered by E33 Southwark is ranked within the 10% most deprived in the UK.

According to GLA predictions Walworth Community Council area, covered by E33 Southwark will almost double in size by 2029 and the population of Borough & Bankside Community Council area, also covered by E33 will demonstrate a similar trend by increasing approximately 40% by 2029.

LB Southwark is ranked third highest in London in terms of mental health service users with 8,751 people accessing services per annum.

The Community Mental Health Profile (CMHP) 2013 produced by the Department of Health cites Southwark as worse than the England average in the following categories that are considered wider determinants of health:

  • Episodes of violent crime
  • Population living in the 20% most deprived areas in England, 2010
  • Working age adults who are unemployed 2010 / 11

The CMHP also cites the following risk factors in Southwark as worse than the England average:

  • Statutory homeless households
  • First time entrants into the youth justice system (10 – 17 year olds)
  • Rate for hospital admissions for mental health
  • Rate for hospital admissions for unipolar depressive disorders
  • Hospital admissions for schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders
  • Number of people using adult & elderly NHS secondary mental health services
  • Numbers of people on a Care Programme Approach
  • In-year bed days for mental health
  • Number of contacts with community psychiatric nurse
  • Number of total contacts with mental health services
  • Recovery rates following psychological therapies

The links between social deprivation, population density and incidents of fire are well documented and research identifies those households associated with both an increased risk of experiencing a fire and a lesser likelihood of owning a working smoke alarm as: housing containing a smoker; financially unstable households; households located in areas of high physical disorder & properties in poor physical condition.

Such households are particularly vulnerable & it is intuitive that those groups at a higher risk of having a fire are more likely to be killed or injured.

LFB recognise this fact in LSP5 Supporting document number 5, by identifying overrepresented groups of people experiencing accidental fires and injuries including:

  • Older People living in social housing with high care needs
    • In LB Southwark 15% or 35,370 Housing tenants are over the age of 65
    • There are 3,830 community based health and social care users
  • People living in social housing with uncertain employment in deprived areas
  • 41.9% of Southwark housing tenants are unemployed
  • Of those households that are employed, 47% have annual incomes of £15,000 or less

This correlation between deprivation and incidence of fire is proven true in LB Southwark where LFB data demonstrates that in the past 10 years, LB Southwark has experienced the highest number of fire deaths in London.  Over the past 5 years LB Southwark has experienced a further alarming increase in fire deaths, with fatalities and injuries also above the London average.

This increase in fire deaths is in contrast to the general trend of reductions in fire deaths proving that the risk in LB Southwark is much higher than across the rest of London.

LFB Borough Statistics 2007 – 2012

Southwark

London Average

Difference from London Average

Fatalities

26

8

325%

Injuries

300

229

131%

Rescues

130

78

166%

Source: LFB Borough Statistics Pack 2012 & IMS Report Manager

 

In fact LB Southwark exceeds the London average for fires and fire appliance mobilisations on numerous reporting criteria, as detailed in the table below.

LFB Borough Statistics 2011/12

Southwark

London Average

Difference from London Average

 

All fires

1,215

819

148%

 

Dwelling fires

319

204

156%

 

Other building fires

113

92

123%

 

Road vehicle fires

95

75

127%

 

Number of pump mobilisations

7,071

5,602

126%

 

Number of pump mobilisations within borough

6,086

4,158

146%

 

Number of pump mobilisations into the borough

2,661

1,444

184%

Source: LFB Borough Statistics Pack 2012

Already, for the financial year to date, LB Southwark is well above the London averages for the number of fires, fatalities, injuries and rescues as the table below demonstrates.

LFB Borough Statistics 01.04.13 – 31.05.13

Southwark

London Average

Difference from London Average

Total Incidents

198

110.78

178%

Fatalities

1

0.40

250%

Injuries

12

5.75

208%

Rescues

4

1.57

254%

Source: IMS Report Manager

LFB also identify in LSP5 Supporting document number 5 the following demographic as being at a significantly increased risk of fire & that over a 3 year period accounted for 27% of casualties:

  • Educated, young, single people living in areas of transient populations
    • 26% of LB Southwark households are made up of this demographic

In addition to high levels of socially deprived individuals living in densely populated social housing, LB Southwark also has a population of approximately 18,000 students with nearly 8,000 bed-spaces managed by 6 student accommodation providers.  On E33 Southwark’s ground alone, there are 20 Halls of Residence containing over 6,000 bed-spaces which is over 75% of all student accommodation in the Borough.  This represents an extremely concentrated population of high risk individuals on an already risk laden geographical area and which has high resource requirements for E33 Southwark in terms of Fire Safety preventative work and mobilisations.  Furthermore, because the student population is renewed each year, the risk and the high resource requirements remain constantly high.

E33 Southwark has undertaken a substantial amount of work with Halls of Residence providers to improve their students’ fire safety, a testimony from one of these providers can be found in appendix 1 on page 26.

E33 Southwark mobilisations to Student Halls of Residence: 01.04.08 – 31.03.13

Mobilisation type Number
False alarm, good intent 28
Automatic Fire Alarm actuation 586
Fire 67
Malicious hoax call 33
Special service 28
Total 742

Source: IMS report Manager

 

Since 1st April 2013 there have been 3 primary fires in LB Southwark Halls of Residence. The most recent primary fire attracted a 6 pump attendance & saw the evacuation of over 50 students.

Summary:

  • All of the factors discussed demonstrate the increased risk of fire within a socially deprived and transient population of people.
  • By reducing the fire cover in LB Southwark which is already at an extremely elevated risk of fire & which already has to request pump mobilisations into the borough 84% more than other boroughs, is directly contrary to the policy set out in LSP5.
  • Furthermore LFB Commissioner Ron Dobson has gone on public record to justify the higher funding level for LFB based on population density.  This risk based logic for funding levels is not being applied in a consistent fashion in relation to the proposed London closures; instead a London average is being applied.  If a Nationwide average for grant settlement is not acceptable, then how can it now be acceptable for London when discussing fire station closures and the removal of fire appliances?

LB Southwark Property Profile: Residential

The total number of households in Southwark is estimated as 120,400, an increase of 13.8 per cent since the Census in 2001 (LB Southwark Housing Profile: 2011 / 12)

LB Southwark has the ninth highest population density in England and Wales at 9,988 residents per square kilometre.   LB Southwark’s population density is higher than the London average of 5,199 residents per sq km, which is itself higher than the average for England, 407 residents per sq km.

In LB Southwark there are 39,845 council properties, of which approx. 30,000 are high rise (4 floors or over) this equates to 75% of all housing stock being high rise flats or maisonettes.  In addition there are also 15,404 Housing Association residential properties and 71,931 private residential properties; a significant proportion of which are also high rise.  According to LFB policy, all of these high rise premises require an annual visit by fire crews.

While vast improvements in residential fire safety have been made in recent years, the age of Housing stock in LB Southwark cannot be ignored as another significant risk factor with 57% or 17,100 residential high rise flats and maisonettes being built before 1964.

With “The Right To Buy” policy enabling council tenants to purchase properties most blocks of flats are now a mixture of tenants and leaseholders meaning that Local Authorities do not have exclusive control of building modifications nor do they monitor the repair condition of leasehold flats.  This inevitably leads to a compromisation of fire safety through modifications and wear & tear; this was tragically highlighted in LB Southwark by the Lakanal House fire.

LFB data taken from “Dwelling Fires” LSP5 Supporting document number 2, shows that fires in purpose built flats and maisonettes, as well as converted flats and maisonettes, account for 58% of all dwelling fires in London. This demonstrates that for LB Southwark where 75% of housing stock is high rise flats or maisonettes, that the risk of a fire is significantly higher than in Boroughs where low rise or street properties constitute the majority of housing stock.

In addition, within LB Southwark substantial numbers of new dwellings are being built including the redevelopment of the Heygate Estate and the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth which will eventually contain approximately 5,000 new homes.  These 2 areas are covered by E33 Southwark and E35 Old Kent Road which are both due to be affected by LSP5 closure or PFI remodeling works.

It is important to note that the regeneration of these two vast housing estates has seen a significant increase in deliberate fires; anti-social behaviour and criminality.  As secure tenants are decanted and the residual properties used for temporary accommodation, an influx of displaced and highly vulnerable individuals have been housed in close proximity and within properties that are old and in a state of disrepair. The nearness in location of these two sites has created a cluster of extremely high risk individuals, in high risk housing, in a area of high crime, arson, rough sleeping and drug use which has seen a marked increase in the number of fires attended by the Boroughs local fire stations.

 

Summary:

 

  • LB Southwark is an extremely densely populated borough, with significantly high numbers of high rise housing stock that is over 50 years old.
  • Areas covered by E33 Southwark & E35 Old Kent Road have seen an increase in the incidence of fires and criminality.
  • These factors mean the model LFB has applied does not recognise this specificity of risk with attendance times in some very densely populated wards being seriously compromised by the proposals.

 

 

LB Southwark Property Profile: Commercial

 

E33 Southwark is a station ground laden with high risk premises, iconic buildings and critical national infrastructure; some of it subject to the official secrets act.  Sites include:

Property Risks
20 Student Halls of Residence 6,000 bed-spaces on E33 ground
BT Tunnels Site of specific importance to national security infrastructure
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre 750,000+ visitors a year / historic listed building
Tate Modern Gallery 4,880,000+ visitors a year / priceless works of art
The Shard No 1 terrorist target in the UK plus 1.5+ million visitors a year
HMS Belfast 245,000+ visitors a year
“The Place” LondonBridge Quarter 40,000 sq m of office space over 17 floors
Southwark Cathedral Historic listed building
Borough Market 4.5+ million visitors a year
Golden Hind 300 tons of timber
London Bridge Station inc. tube 117 million passengers a year
GuysHospital & Campus 900,000+ patient visits a year
LUL Borough Station 5+ million passengers a year
LUL Elephant & Castle Station 18+ million passengers a year
LUL Southwark Station 10+ million passengers a year
Elephant & Castle Regeneration 5,000 additional high rise dwellings + major travel disruption during building works

Each one of these premises requires far more than 2 initial appliances to support an incident. For example the PDA on the Shard is 6 appliances to even begin any sort of fire fighting intervention.

In every case the contingency plan for these complex premises was written by E33 Southwark Watches, the accumulated work hours to complete and maintain these plans is substantial.

Furthermore these high risk sites generate a significant number of visits every year to ensure pre-planning strategies and critical operational information is updated.

Following the Coroner’s verdict into the Lakanal inquiry, it is also LFB’s intention to “create an inspection regime that targets high priority residential and non-residential buildings with a view to increasing the number of premises records which are available to the Brigade’s operational staff on the Operational Risk database”

This burden of work is critical to operational effectiveness & the expectation that neighbouring stations will be able to absorb the extra visits and carry them out to the same standard is unreasonable.  Additionally the existing local knowledge of these high risk premises will all be lost as the crews are individually redistributed; the stations who acquire the extra ground will have little or no understanding of the contingencies required at these sites since they weren’t directly involved in the creation of them.  There will be a severe knowledge deficit which major stakeholders on E33 Southwark’s ground will be unreasonably expected to suffer.

Simply stating that the surrounding stations will be able to pick up this volume of work is both unrealistic and impractical.  Surrounding stations have similar risk matrices and will simply not have the capacity to take this work on & deliver it to the same standards, as the table overleaf demonstrates.

Fire Station Number of appliances Number of outside visits
Southwark PL 98
Old Kent Road PL / P / TL 96
Dockhead PL 88
Peckham PL / P 74
Lambeth PL / P 105
Dowgate PL 105
Brixton PL / P 44
Clapham PL / P / ALP 59
West Norwood PL / P 35
Westminster PL / P / TL 65
Soho PL / P / TL 54
Paddington PL / P / FRU / ALP 59

Source: Outside Duty Master Schedule

Summary:

  • LB Southwark has numerous high risk sites including significant critical national infrastructure and heritage sites.
  • The contingency planning for these has been carried out by local stations.
  • The LFB model used to justify station closures under LSP5 does not recognise this time intensive and high profile function eg The Shard, and makes no adequate provision to maintain it.
  • Plans to increase the number of visits carried out by LFB personnel, whilst reducing the capacity of boroughs to achieve these targets, is counterintuitive and can ultimately only reduce the quality and effectiveness of those visits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Fire Prevention Measures in LB Southwark

Community Fire Safety

A significant proportion of LFB personnel’s time is dedicated to preventative work.  This is delivered via Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV’s) and other Community Fire Safety (CFS) activity.

From 2008 / 09 – 2011 / 12 there was a 69% increase in the number of HFSV’s carried out in LB Southwark.

In 2011 / 12 alone, 3,347 HFSV’s were completed with a total of 2,668 (or 70%) being delivered in high risk dwellings.

The table below demonstrates LB Southwark’s achievements against the LFB average for London.

LFB Borough Statistics 2011/12

Southwark

London Average

Difference from London Average

 

Home fire safety visits (HFSV)

3,347

2,216

151%

 

HFSV to high risk people/places

2,668

1,380

193%

 

Number of smoke alarms installed

2,138

1,076

199%

 

P1 (priority) households

66,985

21,427

313%

   

Source: LFB Borough Statistics Pack 2012

By closing E33 Southwark & E38 New Cross and by removing one appliance from E37 Peckham, there will be a significant reduction in the number of HFSV’s that are completed in LB Southwark.

The closure of E33 Southwark & the removal of one of E37 Peckham’s appliances will see an annual deficit of at least 864 Home Fire Safety Visits and 6,328 CFS hours carried out on a ground with significant risks as identified by LFB.  This does not take into account the additional deficit that the closure of E38 New Cross will create.

Surrounding stations will not have the capacity to pick up the shortfall as they will be gaining extra ground to cover operationally as well as extra visits to premises to complete.

Furthermore LFB Community Fire Safety partnerships are currently being wound down due to a lack of funding (HFSV’s targeting those most at risk FEP1740) which will see an even greater reduction in the amount of fire prevention work being undertaken.

Regulatory Fire Safety

In addition to Community Fire Safety intervention work, LFB Personnel in LB Southwark are also very proactive in regard to Regulatory Fire Safety (RFS) intervention work.

E33 Southwark crews in particular are very engaged with RFS Officers covering the Borough and have identified numerous high risk properties where there has been a failure to comply with Fire Safety regulations.

The table overleaf demonstrates the volume of properties identified:

 

 

 

Public Notices: LB Southwark

Address

Property Type

Date of Notice

Notice Type

Mansfield Court, Sumner RoadPeckham, SE15 6JL

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

03/05/2013

Enforcement Notice

Signal House, 137A Great Suffolk Street, SE1 1PZ

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

 02/04/2013

Enforcement Notice

60, Southwark Street, SE1 1UN

Licensed Premises

05/03/2013

 Enforcement Notice

JourneysLondonBridge Hostel, 204 Manor Place, SE17 3BN

Hostel

28/02/2013

Enforcement Notice

The Old Justice, 94 Bermondsey Wall East, SE16 4TY

Licensed Premises

11/10/2012

 Enforcement Notice

Locksfield, Catesby Street, SE17 1RH

Care Home

13/09/2012

Enforcement Notice

74 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8HA

Licensed Premises

06/09/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 221-241 (Block C) RuskinPark House, Champion Hill, SE5 8TQ

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

 08/08/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flat 121-221 (Block B) RuskinPark House, Champion Hill, SE5 8TN

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

06/08/2012

Enforcement Notice

Commercial Units, Martara Mews, SE17 3DG

Other workplace

12/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Daniels Bar & Restaurant, 207 Old Kent Road, SE1 5NA

Licensed Premises

12/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 1-120 (Block A) RuskinPark House, Champion Hill, SE5 8TQ

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

 11/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

1 Clink Street, SohoWharf, Bankside, SE1 9DG

PublicBuilding

05/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

240 Camberwell Road, SE5 0DP

Factory or warehouse

05/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 1-16 Lacine Court, Christopher Close, SE16 6PL

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

02/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 1-16 Career Court, Christopher Close, SE16 6PN

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

02/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 1-16 Harold Court, Christopher Close, SE16 6PP

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

02/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

Flats 1-12 Fairway Court, Christopher Close, SE16 6PJ

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

02/07/2012

Enforcement Notice

122-126 Tooley Street, SE1 2TU

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

22/05/2012

Enforcement Notice

Stanhope House, 116-118 Walworth Road, Walworth, SE17 1JY

Other sleeping accommodation

17/04/2012

Enforcement Notice

The Good Intent PH, 24 East Street, SE17 2DN

Licensed Premises

13/03/2012

Enforcement Notice

54 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HJ

Licensed Premises

02/03/2012

Enforcement Notice

Good Intent Public House, 24 East Street, SE17 2DN

Licensed Premises

01/03/2012

Prohibition/Restriction Notice

Dulwich Constitutional Club, 33 East Dulwich Grove, SE22 0NP

Licensed Premises

01/03/2012

Enforcement Notice

Residential premises above, , 246 Old Kent Road, SE1 5UB

Shop

04/02/2012

Prohibition/Restriction Notice

Hot Wok, 614 Old Kent Road, SE15 1JB

Licensed Premises

24/11/2011

Enforcement Notice

Mirlees Court, 50 Coldharbour Lane, SE5 9QW

Purpose Built Flats>=4 floors

10/11/2011

Enforcement Notice

88 Walworth Road, SE1 6SW

House converted to flat

27/10/2011

Enforcement Notice

Tesco Petrol Filling Station, Surrey Quays Shopping Centre, Redriff Road, SE16 7LL

Shop

21/09/2011

Improvement Notice

614 Old Kent Road, , SE1 0LL

Licensed Premises

05/08/2011

Prohibition/Restriction Notice

Tesco Petrol Filling Station, 107 Dunton Road, SE1 5HG

Shop

28/06/2011

Improvement Notice

Rotherhithe Station, Railway Avenue, Bermondsey, SE16 4LF

Other premises open to public

12/08/2010

Alteration Notice

49a Camberwell Road, LONDON, SE5 0EZ

House converted to flat

25/06/2010

Enforcement Notice

Garavi Gujarat House, 1 Silex Street, London , SE1 0DW

Factory or warehouse

08/06/2010

Enforcement Notice

UniversalChurch of the Kingdom Of God (1st floor) , 176 Rye Lane,  SE15 4NF

Other premises open to public

31/03/2010

Prohibition/Restriction Notice

Banzi, 237 Lower Road, London, SE16 2LW

Licensed Premises

25/01/2010

Enforcement Notice

Source: LFB website

An endorsement of the proactive RFS work carried out by E33 Southwark can be found in Appendix 2 on page 28.

Summary:

  • The loss of E33 Southwark and removal of the pump from E37 Peckham will see an annual deficit of 864 HFSV’s and 6,328 CFS hours.
  • LB Southwark has an above average number of P1 individuals, identified as most at risk from fire.
  • The proposed removal of 2 pumps based within LB Southwark, will reduce the ability of LFB Personnel to carry out essential fire prevention work which can only increase the risk of injury or death from fire.  This is in a borough with significant volumes of people identified as being at an increased risk of having a dwelling fire, which is contrary to the policy set out in LSP5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operational Considerations

The model presented in the public consultation document justifies the closure of some stations and movement of fire appliances to ensure all of London will receive 2 appliances within 6 and 8 minutes respectively. Whilst these appear laudable on the surface it does not take into account the very different risks across the Greater London built environment.

In the suburbs 2 appliances will be able to make a safe and effective first attack on a standard house fire, however, LFB operational fire fighting policy stipulates that for fires in properties over 4 floors, a minimum attendance of 3 fire appliances is required before offensive fire fighting can begin.

We have already demonstrated that 75% of housing stock in LB Southwark is 4 floors or over therefore, it is reasonable to assume that most dwelling fires in LB Southwark where the risk to life is the greatest, will occur in a property requiring a minimum attendance of 3 fire appliances.

LFB procedures dictate a High Rise incident attracts a minimum initial attendance of 3 appliances to set in place the support system to facilitate a first attack or rescue. The attack on a fire cannot be carried out with less than 4 appliances and as the list of roles taken directly from LFB’s own policy below demonstrates, requires 6 appliances to fully enact a safe system of work.

 Roles at High Rise Incidents

  • IC1
  • Pump Operator
  • Ff Logistics
  • MD-Comms/Messages
  • CM
  • ECO
  • 1 x 2BA
  • Ff lift operator
  • 2 x 2BA

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>    13

  • Safety Officer/GF Cordon
  • Safety Officer-BH
  • WM-BH
  • Comms Op
  • 2 x 2BA

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>       8

Total                   =                                    21

  • Sufficient surplus resources
  • Damage Control
  • Casualty Assistance/Handling Area

“Where a fire occurs in a high-rise block it can take a significant time before the fire and rescue service can commence fire fighting operations, with the potential of greater risk to fire fighters.”

“Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have undertaken a series of exercises designed to test and practise their procedures for dealing with fires in high-rise housing blocks. As a result, they have determined that it takes 20min from arrival at the incident to establish a bridgehead with the resources required to deal safely with a fire on the upper floors. Compared to a fire in a low-rise block, this time delay before fire fighting can commence, clearly encourages significant fire growth, increases the risks involved for fire fighters and residents, and leads to greater damage being caused, with consequential increased remedial and rehousing costs.”

[Source basa.org.uk-The Callow Mount Sprinkler Retrofit Project]

It should be noted that investigations into Fire fighter deaths occurring in High Rise fires at a variety of locations across the country have identified that a significant common factor was the non-availability of sufficient resources early on in the incident; compelling Fire fighters to commence fire fighting activity outside of safe systems of work.

In Hampshire where two Fire fighters died in a significant high rise fire this has prompted the local authority to implement a minimum 6 pump PDA on all high Rise incidents. Whilst this document does not advocate that level of PDA and supports the LFB’s current operational model, it is clear that in removing the level of fire cover proposed, Fire fighters are likely to face increasing pressure to work outside that safe system of work, developed as the result of so many tragic Fire-fighter fatalities nationwide.

In LB Southwark there are a total of 876 premises with a PDA of 3 or more appliances.

On E33 Southwark’s ground alone there are 227 residential premises and 113 commercial premises with a PDA of 3 or more. This equates to 340 premises or 39% of all properties in LB Southwark with a PDA of 3 or more.

Since April 1st 2008 there have been 2,849 primary fire incidents in LB Southwark.  Of those, 1,339 were in high rise premises with a PDA of 3 or more. Of that Borough total, 463 primary fire incidents or 35% were on E33 Southwark’s ground. Of the 463 primary fires on E33 Southwark’s ground, 316 or 68% were in high rise premises with a PDA of 3 or more.  Additionally E33 Southwark also attended 321 primary fire incidents on a neighbouring stations ground (data taken from 08/09 to 12/13 for E34, E35, E37, H22, A24 & A28).

Summary:

  • In the context outlined above, the arrival of two appliances is simply not sufficient to carry out the necessary rescue or fire fighting actions required. Hence why the current spread of stations in Southwark should remain to ensure the requirements of LFB’s own policy can be met.
  • Put simply the planning model applied; leading to the closure of two stations and the removal of a further appliance, in such a densely populated borough where 75% of dwellings are high rise, does not allow for fire fighting resources to arrive in good time to enact a sufficient attack on a fire occurring in the majority of LB Southwark’s residential premises.

Attendance Times

In 2011/12 the Borough of Southwark mobilised its fire appliances as follows:

Number of pump mobilisations 7,071
Number of pump mobilisations within Borough 6,086
Number of pump mobilisations into the Borough 2,661
Number of pump mobilisations out of Borough 985

Source: LSP5 Supporting Document number 8 & LFB Borough Statistics Pack

This totals 8747 incidents, making it the 4th busiest Borough in London for mobilisations

 –

The Borough of Southwark currently has an average attendance time of 4:43mins for the 1st appliance & 5:45mins for the arrival of the 2nd appliance

At present, the percentage of time the first appliance arrives within 6mins in the Borough is 81% and the percentage of time the second appliance arrives within 8mins is 88% – demonstrating that 19% of the time the 1st appliance doesn’t arrive within LFB’s target times and that 12% of the time the 2nd appliance doesn’t arrive within LFB’s target times.  This is before 2 pumps are removed from the Borough.

Every Ward in LB Southwark will see an increase in first and second fire appliance attendance times. 

Information on third and fourth appliance attendance times has not been provided, yet we can assume that similar increases in attendance times will be experienced.

It should also be noted, that these attendance times DO NOT take PFI remodelling works into consideration.  This will inevitably, further increase attendance times.

The worst affected Wards are:

  • Cathedrals Ward, covered by E33 Southwark, which experienced the highest number of fire incidents as well as the highest total number of all incidents in 2011 / 12 will see an increase in attendance times  over a minute and a half for both the first and second fire appliances.
  • Chaucer Ward, covered by E33 Southwark will see an increase in attendance times of just under a minute and a half for the first appliance and over thirty seconds for the second appliance
  • Nunhead Ward, covered by E38 New Cross (bounded by E37 Peckham) will see an increase in attendance times of  over one and half minutes for the first appliance and one minute and fourteen seconds for the second appliance
  • Peckham Rye, covered by E38 New Cross (bounded by E37 Peckham) will see an increase in attendance times of one minute for the first appliance and thirty eight seconds for the second appliance.

 

 

The tables overleaf demonstrate the projected increase in attendance times in LB Southwark by Ward.

Those Wards highlighted below in red will see an estimated increase in attendance times over 25 seconds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First appliance predicted attendance times

 

WARD NAME 2011/ 2012 FIRE INCIDENTS 2011 / 2012 ALL INCIDENTS CURRENT 1ST APPLIANCE ATTENDANCE TIMES              (3 YR AVERAGE) in minutes POST LSP5 PERFORMANCE INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE TIME
BrunswickPark 73 254 4.11 4.20 0.09
Camberwell Green 54 295 5.15 5.24 0.09
Cathedrals 108 636 3.58 5.36 1.38
Chaucer 65 271 4.30 5.54 1.24
College 43 142 7.09 7.13 0.04
East Dulwich 20 106 6.30 6.37 0.07
East Walworth 64 297 4.46 5.11 0.25
Faraday 78 342 5.25 5.36 0.11
Grange 75 448 4.46 5.04 0.18
Livesey 66 298 4.51 5.05 0.14
Newington 64 212 6.10 6.39 0.29
Nunhead 36 256 4.25 5.58 1.33
Peckham 54 239 4.38 4.47 0.09
Peckham Rye 40 151 6.27 7.27 1.00
Riverside 87 412 4.33 4.45 0.12
Rotherhithe 49 265 5.33 5.39 0.06
South Bermondsey 73 259 4.53 4.59 0.06
South Camberwell 36 149 5.53 6.00 0.07
Surrey Docks 39 180 6.21 6.25 0.04
The Lane 64 256 4.45 5.14 0.29
Village 27 116 6.00 6.05 0.05

Source: LSP5 Supplementary Supporting document no: 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second appliance predicted attendance times

 

WARD NAME 2011/ 2012 FIRE INCIDENTS 2011 / 2012 ALL INCIDENTS CURRENT 2ND APPLIANCE ATTENDANCE TIMES              (3 YR AVERAGE) in minutes POST LSP5 PERFORMANCE INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE TIME
BrunswickPark 73 254 4.57 6.36 1.39
Camberwell Green 54 295 5.22 6.20 0.58
Cathedrals 108 636 5.40 6.14 1.34
Chaucer 65 271 5.53 6.26 0.33
College 43 142 7.47 7.54 0.07
East Dulwich 20 106 7.07 7.28 0.21
East Walworth 64 297 5.09 5.25 0.14
Faraday 78 342 5.39 5.54 0.15
Grange 75 448 5.57 6.30 0.33
Livesey 66 298 5.45 5.58 0.13
Newington 64 212 6.10 6.37 0.27
Nunhead 36 256 5.29 6.43 1.14
Peckham 54 239 5.08 6.10 1.02
Peckham Rye 40 151 7.27 8.05 0.38
Riverside 87 412 6.12 6.32 0.20
Rotherhithe 49 265 6.45 6.49 0.04
South Bermondsey 73 259 5.04 5.13 0.09
South Camberwell 36 149 6.09 6.58 0.49
Surrey Docks 39 180 7.17 7.23 0.06
The Lane 64 256 5.37 7.33 1.56
Village 27 116 6.59 7.06 0.07

Source: LSP5 Supplementary Supporting document no: 22

Furthermore it needs to be noted that the LSP5 projected attendance times are calculated for arrival at street level.  In LB Southwark where 75% of its residential properties are high rise blocks, the arrival time at the fire site will be considerably longer than at street level.

Another factor that already increases the attendance time to a high rise flat fire in LB Southwark, is that since the Lakanal House fire, residents living in such properties are ignoring standard fire safety advice to “stay put” and instead are self-evacuating en masse.  In high rise blocks where there are upwards of 70 properties with, at a conservative estimate, 3 persons residing per property, this equates to 200+ people self-evacuating via central staircases.  This fact, will only further slow response times to fire sites in LB Southwark high rise premises.

 

 

 

 

 

Dwelling Fire Severity

 

Analysis of LFB’s dwelling fire severity data (01.04.08 – 31.03.13) demonstrates that LB Southwark has experienced above the London average for “categories of fire severity” over the last 5 years, as shown in the table below.

LFB Borough Statistics 01.04.08 – 31.03.13

Southwark

London Average

Difference form London Average

Total number of Fires

1590

987

161%

Slight Fires

333

217

153%

Moderate Fires

724

426

169%

Significant Fires

426

272

157%

Severe Fires

107

73

147%

Source: IMS Report Manager

 

LFB classify fire severity in the following way (The Severity of fire in dwellings: further analysis. Document No: FEP1752):

  • Severe – fires likely to render a property as uninhabitable for a period of time; caused more than 5 meters of damage; required direct action from fire fighters; incident lasted longer than 45 minutes & more than 5 pumps attended.
  • Significant – fires that cause some damage and spread but don’t require significant resources to extinguish
  • Moderate – small fires where the details of damage are recorded but very little fire spread
  • Slight – very small fire; no fire fighting required to extinguish (beyond removal of heat source) & no damage to property evident.

 

FEP1752 concludes that factors contributing to the severity of a fire can be generalised as the difference in the type of property.  The proposition being that purpose built flats will withstand fire spread for longer.  FEP1752 concedes that property type is not the only factor that influences the severity of a fire and cites that the condition of housing stock, living standards and personal lifestyle characteristics also play a fundamental part in the severity of a dwelling fire.

The data provided above along with the evidence presented in this document demonstrates that LB Southwark has well above the London average in the number of fire incidents as well as significant numbers of housing stock over 50 years old and a population of socioeconomically deprived residents with above average levels of mental health issues.

These risk factors combined with increased attendance times will inevitably lead to the number of severe fires increasing in LB Southwark.

This in turn will lead to an increase in fire related injuries and fatalities; an increase in the economic cost of fire to LB Southwark & greater risk of injury to fire fighters who will be attending fires that have had longer to develop.

Other factors affecting attendance times

 

Consideration also needs to be given to the impact of major developments in LB Southwark that will detrimentally affect fire appliance attendance times, in particular, those fire appliances that will be required to cover E33 Southwark’s fire ground, if the station is closed.

The developments listed below will not simply mean short term closures of roads.  Each development will take years to complete and as such, the impact on traffic routes will also be lengthy & will see substantial disruption.

 

London Bridge Station Redevelopment

Elephant & Castle Regeneration – 5,000 new homes

  • The building phase is expected to reach its peak in 2019, with a projected 10 construction-related vehicle movements an hour round the Elephant & Castle roundabout
  • The upgrading of several “tributary” roads that converge on Elephant and Castle roundabout

One Blackfriars Development

  • The erection of three buildings including: a tower of 50 storeys plus basement levels, of maximum height 170m; a low-rise building of 6 storeys above ground level &  a low rise building of 4 storeys above ground level
  • In total, the mixed use scheme comprises: 11,267 sq m of Class C1 use (hotel); 52,674 sq m of Class C3 (residential use); 1,336 sqm of Class A uses (A1 to A5); 9,648 sq m of basement, ancillary plant, servicing and car parking.
  • This is land bounded by Blackfriars Road, Stamford Street, Rennie Street and Upper Ground,

Summary:

  • All Wards in LB Southwark will see an increase in fire appliance attendance times
  • The average increase on the 1st appliance attendance time is 26 seconds and the average increase on the 2nd appliance attendance time is 38 seconds
  • On E33 Southwark’s ground, the Ward of Cathedrals will see an increase of 1 minute & 38 seconds on the first appliance and 1 minute & 34 seconds on the second appliance yet it is the Ward that experienced the highest number of fire incidents in 2011/12 in LB Southwark
  • Cathedrals Ward has a significant number of high rise residential and commercial premises which require a minimum of 3 appliances to tackle a fire. 
  • The projected attendance times are at ground level & do not factor in the extra time required to reach a fire in a property on upper floors of a high rise block.
  • Self-evacuation of residents since the Lakanal House fire already slows response times to fire sites
  • An increase in attendance times will lead to a corresponding increase in fire related injuries and fatalities; an increase in the economic cost of fire to LB Southwark & greater risk of injury to fire fighters.
  • Major development work in LB Southwark, predominantly on E33 Southwark’s ground will not only add risk to an already risk laden ground but will also slow the attendance times of other fire appliances who are required to cover this area if E33 is closed.

 

 

Economic Cost of Fire:

 

The DCLG “Economic Cost of Fire: Estimates for 2008” published in 2010 provides costings by fire type which enables us to determine approximately the cost of fire to a London Borough.

Analysis of LB Southwark fire figures from 2008 – 2013 demonstrated the following annual total approximate costs.

Year Dwelling Fire Non Residential Vehicle Outdoor Fatality Total Cost
2008 – 2009 £17,409,304 £7,266,168 £801,500 £5,430,964 £9,891,234 £40,799,170
2009 – 2010 £17,313,120 £7,196,301 £750,204 £4,321,688 £14,836,851 £44,418,164
2010 – 2011 £19,236,800 £6,357,897 £596,316 £4,071,620 £8,242,695 £38,505,328
2011 – 2012 £16,303,188 £6,497,613 £609,140 £4,392,220 £8,242,695 £36,044,856
2012 – 2013 £17,794,040 £5,519,493 £416,780 £2,442,972 £1,648,539 £27,821,539
Total cost for 5 year period £88,056,452 £32,837,472 £3,173,940 £20,659,464 £42,862,014 £187,589,057

General price assumptions: London (DCLG “Economic Cost of Fire: Estimates for 2008)

 

Type of Fire Cost per Fire in London
Dwelling £48,092
Non residential £69,867
Vehicles £6,412
Outdoor £6,412
Cost per incident in London
Fatality £1,648,539

Source: IMS Report Manager

 

Non-residential fire estimates have been derived from an average Commercial fire costs (£75,881 per fire) and Public Sector fire costs (£63,853 per fire)

Costings are also available for fire related injuries but are estimated on “serious” or “slight “ injury.  This level of data is not currently publicly available from LFB and so has been excluded from these figures.

 

Summary:

 

  • The total approximate cost of fire in LB Southwark (between 2008 & 2013) amounts to £187,589,057.
  • The average annual approximate cost of fire in LB Southwark (between 2008 and 2013) amounts to £35,517,811.
  • The removal of essential fire cover can only lead to: an increase in the number of fires which occur due to the reduction in CFS activity; an increase in the severity of fires due to delayed attendance times & an increase in the number of injuries and fatalities due to delayed attendance times.
  • These factors, as a consequence, will also increase the cost of fire to LB Southwark, a borough which is already significantly financially deprived & which is in direct conflict with the strategy as laid out by LSP5.
  • The public money saved by implementing LSP5 will be cancelled out by the increases in cost of fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LFB Policy & Project Development

Below is a list of policies, projects and equipment trials that have been developed or carried out at E33 Southwark.  Its closeness to Head Quarters has made it the perfect venue for policies to be tested at the front line.  Losing the station would also mean losing the critical link between operational and non-operational staff which helps to test the effectiveness and deliverability of a wide range of new techniques.

    • Policy No:633 High Rise Fire Fighting & 10 pump high rise exercise
    • Policy No: 790 Fire Survival Guidance tested at 10 pump high rise exercise in conjunction with Brigade Control
    • Policy No:820 – Forward Information Board
    • BA boards
    • MDT testing
    • Shard “On Arrival Tactics” & Fire Plan Document – now being rolled out as best practice pan London
    • Shard – high rise exercise (Dec 2012)
    • Press related enquiries including photo / film opportunities
    • Uniform / kit trials
    • Sheltered Housing Unit project – referred to as “The Southwark Model”
    • Halls of Residence project
    • NHS Slips Trips & Falls project

Summary:

 

  • The removal of resources in LB Southwark as outlined in LSP5 will seriously impact LFB’s ability to develop and share as best practice, the kind of successful projects that has benefited both LFB pan London and the London Borough of Southwark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

E33 Southwark Fire Station Personnel have prepared this document, in off duty time over the past 4 months, in order to demonstrate that the proposed closure of E33 Southwark and the further reduction of fire cover in LB Southwark directly contradict the claim that LSP5 uses a risk based model.

Furthermore we believe that implementation of the LSP5 proposals as they stand will disproportionately, dangerously and unfairly impact those who live in, work in and visit LB Southwark.

We wish it to be acknowledged that PFI rebuilding works at E35 Old Kent Road and E34 Dockhead will further significantly reduce fire cover in LB Southwark for a minimum 3 year period.

E33 Southwark Fire Station Personnel felt compelled to write and present this document as we believe that the value of the station and the commitment and professionalism of its fire fighters cannot be adequately conveyed through a consultation form.

We are proud to serve the LB Southwark community as demonstrated by the willingness to travel further; pay more to travel and spend longer away from home as a result.

The Commissioner would expect nothing less than our full commitment and professionalism when responding to incidents and engaging with the community.  As serving Officers we believe that this commitment and professionalism needed to be demonstrated in the detailed response to the public consultation for the draft 5th London Safety Plan and in our opposition to the proposed closure of E33 Southwark.

Appendix 1  Halls of Residence provider: consultation response

Re:         Formal Consultation Response re proposed station closure and operational reductions within the London Borough of Southwark

My role within London South Bank University (LSBU) is that of Fire safety Manager. LSBU is one of London’s largest and oldest universities and has been delivering education since 1892. We are a cosmopolitan university with over 2000 staff and 23,000 students; the latter being representative in excess of 130 countries.

In accordance with the requirements of your consultation period and in consideration of my role within LSBU, I wish to formally raise my objection to the proposed closure of E33 Southwark Fire Station and the additional reductions of operational cover within the borough.

Accordingly I request that my comments be accepted as being my Formal Consultation Response and that they be considered as part of the consultation process.

As a key stakeholder in LB Southwark and a retired Operational and Fire Safety Inspecting Officer with East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service; in my professional opinion and based on previous experience, my belief is that the closure of the station E33 Southwark will have a significant and detrimental impact on our business functions and continuity, as well as to the safety of the 25,000 staff and students to whom we have a statutory obligation in our provision of a duty of care.

In The Fifth London Safety Plan (LSP5), LFB have identified which groups of people are most at risk from fire.  You will be aware that LSBU has a high percentage of the Mosaic Group identified by LFB in being at ‘high risk’ of accidental dwelling and casualties in the home; namely ‘Educated, young single people living in areas of transient populations’, who are deemed to be a ‘hard to reach’ audience.

LSBU and Southwark Fire Station have undertaken a monumental volume of work to reduce the risks associated with this demographic living within our facilities and the results have been extremely impressive.  As a direct result of the work carried out with E33 Southwark, we as an organisation have now reduced the annual number of fire related incidents in our Halls of Residence by 66% as well as establishing:

  • Clear lines of communication between E33 Southwark and our Halls of Residence Management
  • Strict tenancy agreements for students living in Halls of Residence regarding fire safety requirements
  • An annual programme of LFB visits to Halls of Residence to effect flat inspections and deliver fire safety information and advice to our students which enables
  • Early intervention and where appropriate, enforcement against students who breach their tenancy agreements in effecting automatic fire alarm (AFA) activations and other fire safety contraventions through unawareness or inappropriate behaviour.

This work has been so effective, that it was presented to the Fire Alarm Reduction Working Group for submission to the National Forum for University Safety and Health Association for Fire as a model of best practice in 2012/2013.

Furthermore my concern is that reduced interaction and business interface between LSBU and LFB will inevitably lead to a marked reduction of fire safety awareness and therefore increase demands on our Halls of Residence. This effect is two-fold in that;

a)      It will undo and seriously damage all of the previous good work that has been achieved in our professional partnership working to date and

b)      Increase the number of AFA calls to LFB, which is completely at variance with the ethos and strategy of LFB’s current Call Challenging considerations.

LFB’s proposition to then charge for false alarm attendances will in effect penalise stakeholders twice.  If the E33 Southwark closes, not only will we experience a reduction in the service that we currently receive, we will then incur significant charges due to the removal of our risk reduction measures in collectively reducing false alarms being directly gained from the intervention work carried out with the station personnel.

LSP5 also outlines what LFB plan to do about reducing false alarms.  The work LSBU has undertaken with Southwark Fire Station over the past 3 years has significantly reduced our false alarms within our Halls of Residence by an average of 14%. This figure continues to improve year on year.

I firmly believe that the closure of E33 Southwark would be detrimental, not only to our organisation and the facilities that we manage, but also to the wider community in which we are located.  It is immediately apparent that the level of engagement and service that we currently benefit from cannot be sustained if the station closes.

Furthermore, the operational response that we currently experience and expect will inevitably be detrimentally affected.  It is unrealistic and untenable to expect another station with its own area and inherent risks to assimilate further ground and still be able to deliver services with as much efficiency, commitment and professionalism.  Quite simply and collectively, there is too much to do but there will be insufficient resources to cover it.

When considering the evidence as it stands to date;

  • The current provision of operational pumping appliances within the LB of Southwark is 6
  • The cost saving proposal is to reduce the number of pumping appliances to 4
  • Although E38 New Cross is within the LB of Lewisham, much of their station ground includes that of the Borough of Southwark. It is therefore evident that the closure of this station will;
  • effectively remove one further pumping appliance from the LB of Southwark,
  • place an increased burden on the remaining three stations and
  • ultimately lead to a reduction in fire cover and operational capability
  • There is no known strategy in place that can effectively guarantee and significantly reduce the annual number of fire calls attended within the borough
  • There is no known proposal to reposition the remaining stations following the closure of Southwark and New Cross stations. Therefore the physical distance to be travelled when attending the station grounds of E33 Southwark and E38 New Cross will in some cases increase; as will the attendance times

Basic common sense and simple mathematics unequivocally identifies that a reduced provision in fire cover arrangements within LB Southwark will not be able to effectively deal with the number of fire calls that it experiences at present; nor will it be able to sustain the delivery of fire safety educational interaction and risk reduction measures that it currently provides, without loss to operational efficiency!

In summary, acknowledgement of the dedication that Southwark Fire Station has provided to the risks on its station ground and of the proposed loss of invaluable local knowledge cannot be overstated.  Neither is it reasonable that we as major stakeholders should be expected to tolerate a reduction in the level of service that we currently receive and then be charged as a result of LFB cuts.  Furthermore we should not be expected to accept the inevitable increase to response times, nor the loss of local knowledge and partnership working ; all of which has taken many years to replace and more often than not, can never be replicated.

Proactivity is and always will be the key factor to effective risk reduction measures. However your proposals for the reduction of operational capability and the inevitable loss of business partner interfacing opportunities from insufficient resource availability, can only lead to a need for increased reactivity on the part of LFB and a resultant escalation in fire loss related statistics.

I sincerely hope that you will consider my comments to be valid and that they are taken in the assurance of being presented by an ex-serving local authority area fire commander having sound professional managerial knowledge and experience in both operational and fire safety and risk reduction disciplines.

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix 2. LFB Regulatory Fire Safety: E33 Southwark Endorsement

Sir,

May I enquire how you intend to amend your Borough plan to account for the loss of the station and personnel at Southwark?

As you are aware the current resources employed at Southwark Fire Station have been invaluable in gathering intelligence which has led to several high profile and ‘life risk’ issues being hugely mitigated or resolved.

Although it could be argued that it is the role of every operational officer and fire fighter to be proactive in fire safety it has been quite clear that the high level of risk within Southwark which is reflected in our workload has been addressed by personnel who have exceptional local knowledge, well above average fire safety abilities, excellent communication skills and time dedicated (the majority unpaid) to ensure a safe resolution to all the fire safety issues they have so far raised.

This station has set the benchmark in addressing fire safety issues and easily accounts for 80% of my operational based work.  Although not included in performance indicators, it is my view that the loss of this station and their crews could have a significant impact on fire safety in the borough.

I would be interested to know how crews with larger grounds, a base level of fire safety and a lack of local knowledge (which is built up over a number of years) are going to assist us to the very high level we have come to expect from Southwark Fire Station since we took over the responsibility of fire safety within the borough.

I have the upmost confidence in every officer employed within our borough but none have sought to learn, be as proactive, communicate or see through issues (even if this means in their own time) to the extent of Southwark Fire Station.

I would also be interested to hear your views on how long you anticipate it will take for new crews from other stations to familiarise themselves with the many fire engineered buildings like the Shard, More London, Globe, Tate and many other complex buildings constructed and under construction to the level of the incumbent station.

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