The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has announced a new period of strike action taking place over four consecutive days:
The Authority has a legal duty to provide London with an emergency fire and rescue service and has taken action to ensure the continuing provision of a reduced service during a strike (or any other event which deprives the Brigade of its usual workforce).
The provision, known as ‘CapitalGuard’, is a contracted service providing up to 27 fire engines. It is intended to provide a reduced level of operational capability sufficient to fulfil the Authority’s basic statutory duties.
This means that the 27 fire engines will attend a limited range of incidents and that, in the first instance, the normal initial attendance to incidents will be just one fire engine.
The level of response available from the London Fire Brigade during any period of industrial action does not affect the likelihood of a fire occurring in a workplace or other premises. However, the vigilance and management of responsible persons can reduce the risk of fire.
The 999/112 system will continue to operate as normal. However automatic fire alarm systems, which direct calls through to alarm receiving centres, will not generate an attendance unless a 999 call is made to confirm that there is a fire.
During periods of strike action it is foreseeable that:
In the event of a lift becoming stuck calls to the fire brigade should only be made if people in the lift are at immediate risk or in such distress as to need medical attention.
Persons responsible for premises with lifts must provide details of how to contact the responsible maintenance company, both in the lift and where alarm calls from the lift are received in the building.
In these circumstances, it is vital that other bodies and organisations consider measures that could help safeguard London in times of reduced fire cover.