At the end of the war, plans were made for a peacetime service and it was decided that the fire brigades could best be run by counties and county borough councils. The London Fire Brigade resumed on 1 April 1948.
Sir Frederick Delve took charge of the Brigade in 1948 and at once set about a major reshaping task. Changes to this period included:
Firefighting and fire prevention has changed in response to lessons learnt at large and fatal incidents.
After the Smithfield fire (1958), the Brigade introduced a line for firefighters to follow in a fire. In this way they would not get lost in thick smoke, and by feeling the knots on the line they could tell how far into the fire they were. Breathing apparatus boards were also introduced to monitor when firefighters entered a burning building and how long they could remain inside before their air supply ran out.
A terrible explosion at Dudgeons Wharf (1969) was caused by workmen cutting away old tanks that had contained flammable substances. There was nothing saying what the tanks contained, and no warning of the dangers. After this the Hazchem Code was introduced in the 1970s.
A large fire in Kings Cross Station (1987) led to strict fire safety regulations being introduced in 1989. Escalators must be made from metal, litter must be cleared, heat detectors and sprinklers must be fitted and all staff must receive fire safety training.
The area that the London Fire Brigade served grew in 1965, when the GLC was formed.
Previously the boundary of the London County Council, formed in 1889, was much smaller. As London grew and spread into the countryside, it was decided that the boundary needed to be extended to include Middlesex, Croydon, East and West Ham and 83 other boroughs.
The GLC also introduced the one crown badge, which became part of the London Fire Brigade’s (LFB) identity.
With the threat of the Cold War, the LFB formed an emergency planning department to make plans for terrorist attacks, bombing and flooding.
The Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) started recruiting again to provide assistance to the Brigade in case of war. In the early 1950s purpose built vehicles came into service for the AFS, with the most popular being the ‘Green Goddess’. The AFS was disbanded in 1968.
In the 1970s, new legislation for hazardous chemicals was introduced, called the Hazchem Code, and all buildings, vehicles and storage areas containing hazardous chemicals had to have a coded sign. The simple code told firefighters the immediate steps they needed to take to protect themselves and the public if these areas were involved in a fire.
In 1965 the GLC was established and was committed to a positive policy for equal opportunities. The GLC wanted women to be encouraged to become operational firefighters.
The first woman firefighter in the UK to join the LFB as an operational firefighter was 30-year-old Sue Batten. Sixty other women joined the Brigade in the 1980s, with the majority remaining in the job for over 10 years. By 1991, London still had 50 women firefighters and in 2010 there are 257 women firefighters in the LFB.