London Fire Brigade

London fire chiefs urge caution ahead of ‘biggest storm since 1987’

25 October 2013

London Fire Brigade is urging Londoners to take care as the capital is expected to be hit with heavy rain and winds that could reach up to 80mph. Sunday and Monday are set to see some of the worst weather in over 25 years as a huge storm approaches the UK from North America.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Hamm, the Brigade’s head of operational resilience, said:

“London could be hard hit by the severe weather, so we’re reminding people to be extra careful.

“Strong winds can pick up loose objects, so make sure anything that could be blown over like garden furniture is safely put away. Take care when out and about, as flying debris can be dangerous and cause serious injuries.

“London firefighters  will be on standby ready to help anyone who might be affected. We will be on hand to help with any serious flooding that may happen as a result of heavy rain, and will be available should any buildings or roads be severely affected by the weather.

“Remember our crews might be very busy, so please only dial 999 if it’s an emergency.”

The Brigade said that its firefighters are prepared and are trained to deal with severe weather, including floods and high wind. The Brigade also has a role in coordinating the national response to severe weather including major storms and floods.

Fire chiefs have issued the following advice to help people stay safe during extremely high winds:

• Stay inside if possible. Take extra care if you do venture outside.
• Clear gardens, balconies, and window sills of anything that could be blown away.
• If you have a power cut, be very careful if you use candles.

The Met Office, which has issued an amber wind alert for London and the south east, has warned people to be prepared for the risk of falling trees, damage to buildings, and possible disruption to transport and power supplies.

The storm has been named St Jude, after the patron saint of depression and lost causes, and has been caused by two weather systems in the Great Lakes of America and Florida combining.

ENDS

Notes to editors

London Fire Brigade has 16 fire rescue units, which carry specialist rescue and cutting equipment.

The Brigade also has four specialist flood response kits, each of which contains rigid flood rescue boats and paddles and rigid floating pontoons, which can be used to make bridges and walkways to rescue people. They also contain protective dry suits and boots to be worn by fire crews when rescuing people from flooded areas.

The Brigade also has six high volume pumps stationed at strategic locations across the capital. These can be used to pump large amounts of water away from flooded areas. There is also 15 tonnes of sand waiting to be sent out from the Brigade’s distribution centre in Croydon should a serious flooding occur.