London Fire Brigade

Londoners safer than ever as Great Fire drama starts

16 October 2014

As a new drama hits our screens depicting the Great Fire of London our Commissioner has said the public are now more safe from fire than ever before.

New figures released today show the number of fires in London last year was around 57 each day compared to 111 just a decade ago. The number of blazes across the capital have halved since 2004/5 and are consistently below the first recorded figures. However, we’re warning that modern city life still poses numerous fire risks.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said: "The figures show that Londoners are now safer from fire than ever before. Despite London’s population growing by almost a million in the last decade, the number of fires in the capital is 50 per cent lower.

"We shouldn’t be complacent as fire can still kill or seriously injure just like it did 350 years ago.

"In the past, Londoners worried about sparks from open fires and overcrowded streets next door to workplaces like foundries, smithies and glaziers. Now we need to be concerned about fake phone chargers, converted buildings which are unsuitable for accommodation and careless disposal of cigarettes.”

"Just as Samuel Pepys had his diary detailing the Great Fire our @LondonFire twitter feed gives up to date information about serious, high profile or unusual incidents attended across the capital. We've followed Pepys lead and now people can not only learn about incidents but also get life saving fire safety messages as well."

Reduction of fire

We believe the reduction in the number of fires we attend is in no small part down to the community and regulatory fire safety work carried out by our staff.

Specifically, the way we target those most at risk from fire.

A report last year estimated that 5,000 fires had been prevented by firefighters carrying out home fire safety visits, with vulnerable people being 18 times less likely to have a fire if they receive a visit.

We have also found that social media is the best tool to target London’s young educated professionals who are responsible for a quarter of all house fires.

Figures show that young professionals are having two fewer fires a week since the Brigade started using social media.

Common fire risks 1666 versus 2014

1666: People living in overcrowded streets next door to workplaces, many of which were fire hazards-foundries, smithies, glaziers
2014: Beds in sheds – converted buildings which are unsuitable and pose a fire risk

1666: Open fires near homes built from cheap materials often with overhanging timber frames
2014: 60 per cent of fires in the home start in the kitchen, mainly caused by cooking left unattended

1666: Overcrowding and narrowly packed streets meant means of escape were difficult
2014: Faulty or misused electrical appliances cause fires

ITV's four part drama on the blaze which ripped through the capital on Sunday, 2 September 1666.

To mark this the Brigade has made a Great Fire of London quiz to see how much people know about the blaze and the various items from the time housed at the Brigade's museum.

Museum

London Fire Brigade museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of firefighting equipment and memorabilia in the country.

Exhibits range from early leather helmets to recently replaced breathing apparatus, illustrating the history of firefighting in London since the Great Fire of London in 1666 through to modern times.

Visit the museum pages to book your visit.