London Fire Brigade

Road accidents at all time low ahead of biggest ever rescue competition

15 October 2012

The number of road traffic accidents attended by the capital’s fire crews is at the lowest level in over 25 years, according to new figures released by the London Fire Brigade today.

Last year saw the lowest number of road traffic accidents since 1984, the year that both pop band Bucks Fizz and Def Leppard drummer, Rick Allen, were involved in serious road traffic accidents. That year, there were 3,074 road traffic accidents in London. In 2011 crews were called out to 3,504 accidents, despite a population rise in the capital of around 1.5 million since 1984.

However, the figures also show that despite a drop in the number of accidents, the number of people injured or killed at the incidents attended by the Brigade remains high. Last year, the Brigade attended 3,504 road traffic incidents and around half of those involved people being injured and 47 people lost their lives. The number of people injured and killed at the incidents attended by the Brigade were up on the previous year.

The figures have been released days ahead of the world’s biggest ever firefighter event, the World Rescue Challenge 2012, which will be held this week on 18-20 October at ExCeL London. The event , which is free and open to the public, will see rescue teams from across the globe practice the vital rescue skills and care provided to those with injuries at the scene of serious incidents like road traffic accidents.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said:

“It’s good news that the number of road traffic accidents our crews are called out to is falling but the London Fire Brigade is still attending almost ten accidents every day, half of which involve people who’ve been injured. That’s why training and events like the World Rescue Challenge are vital for our firefighters to practice their rescue skills in a realistic setting.

“This event will be an opportunity for firefighters from across the globe to come together with the shared aim of improving rescue skills across the world.”

Fire Authority Chairman, James Cleverly, said:

“London has some of the most highly skilled rescue teams in the world. The World Rescue Challenge will be a chance for them to show the world what they’re capable of and to learn from their international colleagues.

“At the scene of an accident, a few seconds can be the difference between life and death. The Brigade will continue to train our firefighters to the highest possible level to ensure that more lives are saved at the scene of accidents on the capital’s roads.”

The World Rescue Challenge is on 18-20 October and takes place at ExCeL London in London Docklands. It is set to be the biggest firefighter event in the world and fire crews from across the globe, including those from Australia, South Africa, Russia, Ghana and New Zealand will be taking part.

Other event highlights will include firefighters parachuting into the docks outside and being pulled from the water by rescue teams on speedboats; a life-sized hazard house to educate people about the fire risks lurking in peoples’ homes; London’s fire investigation dogs will also be on hand for a meet and greet session. The event will also feature London’s Fittest Firefighter competition, the final of which will be held on Saturday 20 October.


Notes to editors

Media are invited to attend the event to film, interview firefighters or take photographs. Please contact Emma Cullen on 020 8536 5922 or 0777 411 2351 for a press pass.

Several high res photographs are available, contact Emma Cullen if you’d like other images.

More information about the event, including free tickets, can be found here:

Tickets for Saturday 20 October are close to selling out, but there are still plenty of tickets available for Thursday 18 October and Friday 19 October.

Follow all the action on Twitter @WorldRescue2012

For photos and event updates:

About the World Rescue Challenge 2012

The World Rescue Challenge will see firefighter rescue teams competing in a range of rescue challenges and demonstrations  including:

• Extrication - firefighters will take part in timed challenges to see which team can rescue ‘casualties’ from crushed cars in the quickest and most efficient way
• Trauma -  actors wearing makeup and prosthetics are made to look as though they’ve been involved in a serious accident and firefighters will compete to give them the quickest and best medical care
• Rope – crews will scale 30 foot scaffolding and using ropes and rescue gear will rescue ‘casualties’ and bring them back to ground
• Water – parachutists will float down from helicopters into the docks outside ExCeL and rescue teams will rush into the water on speedboats and use specialist rescue gear to pull them from the water
• Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) – USAR firefighters are specially trained to rescue people who are trapped or buried. The USAR demo will see London firefighters showing off their skills and the equipment they use to lift, cut, and remove rubble from collapsed buildings or locate people who are trapped.

Facts and figures

• The number of road traffic accidents attended by the Brigade has steadily declined every year over the past decade.
• The number of incidents peaked in 1989, with firefighters being called out to 5,626 accidents.
• Over 2600 people die in transport accidents in the UK each year (Annual mortality statistics, 2010, Office for National Statistics)
• Last year London’s firefighters dealt with 3,504 road traffic accidents
• In 2011, 1712 people were injured in accidents attended by the London Fire Brigade
• In 2011, 47 people lost their lives in road traffic accidents attended by the Brigade
• Around 200 people drown in accidents each year (Annual mortality statistics, 2010, Office for National Statistics)
• The number of water rescue incidents in London is slowly rising each year. In 2011, 48 people were rescued from the capital’s lakes, ponds or rivers
• London Fire Brigade has 16 fire rescue units which are stationed at fire stations across the capital. The units are crewed by firefighters who are specially trained in rescuing people and contain specialist equipment to be used at incidents like road traffic accidents, water rescues, or rescues from height