London Fire Brigade

Reducing lift calls

We charge for attending non-emergency calls to release a person shut in a lift. 

From 1 April 2011 the Brigade charges on the third lift release at the same building within a year, and for all subsequent non-emergency lift releases. 

The previous charging scheme ,where a charge was levied at 10 non-emergency attendances in a year, will also apply. 

Premises will be charged if either we attend 10 or more times in a year or we attend three or more times in a year, period starting from 1 April 2011, whichever comes first. 

The current charge for such attendances is £295 + VAT.

Why we charge?

The charging scheme has been implemented to incentivise building owners to tackle the problem of the Brigade being called to attend non-emergency lift releases where it has reached an unacceptable level.

We are not required to attend these non-emergency calls and wish to reduce the numbers of times we do because each lift call takes up the time of a fire engine and crew.

The knock on effect is a reduction in capacity to attend emergency incidents, carry out community safety work and provide essential training for firefighters.

What we want lift owners and operators to do

It is the responsibility of the lift owner or operator to make suitable arrangements for lift maintenance and the safe release of anyone shut in their lifts.

The Brigade is not the appropriate agency to routinely release people from lifts.

Suitable arrangements for the routine release of people shut in lifts include:

  • Providing a lift release service through a lift engineering or similar company 
  • Training your staff to release people who are shut in a lift 
  • Ensuring there are suitable communications in your lifts so that a person shut in can raise the alarm and be reassured that help is on its way 
  • Distributing information to lift users so that they are aware of the correct procedure to follow if they are shut in a lift

People shut in a lift must be able to raise the alarm. The Brigade should only be called in an emergency.

What we do

In 2008/09, one in ten calls we received was to release a person shut in a lift – over 14,000 calls in a year.

Following the introduction of a call filtering system and charges in 2009 there has been a 31% reduction in the number of calls we attend but this is not enough. 

When taking 999 calls about a person shut in a lift, fire brigade control ask callers a series of questions to determine whether or not a fire engine needs to attend.

The aim is to find out whether or not there is a real emergency and whether there is anyone else who can release the person from the lift.

Firefighters will always attend genuine emergencies where people are shut in lifts and when other means of rescue are not available.

Lift owners have a responsibility to have arrangements in place to release people shut in their lifts and should be the first port of call.

Let us help you

We want to help you reduce the number of shut in lift incidents. Please contact your local team if you would like further information.

If you have received an invoice from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority for lift related services you can appeal against the charge if there are reasonable grounds to do so.