London Fire Brigade

Christmas party goers urged to get a takeaway during strikes

13 December 2013

London Fire Brigade is asking people to get a takeaway rather than cooking whilst drunk this Friday and Saturday night as the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) is on strike.

The Brigade said it anticipates that a large number of people will be out celebrating, with Christmas being just days away. Fire chiefs want people, especially 18 to 35 year olds, to get a takeaway instead of cooking at home if they have been out drinking.

The young, well-educated, professionals, being targeted by the campaign cause more than a quarter of all accidental house fires in the capital, often by attempting to cook at home when drunk. This greatly increases the risk of someone having a serious fire which could destroy their home or, even worse, kill them.

Brigade figures show that:

• Two fires a day happen after Londoners have been drinking.
• One in four people who die in a fire has alcohol in their system.
• Three quarters of alcohol related fires are caused by cooking under the influence.
• Over half of these fires happen because someone has fallen asleep.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner, Ron Dobson, said:

“I imagine a lot of people will be out drinking and celebrating Christmas this Friday and Saturday night, at the same time the Fire Brigades Union are on strike.

“I am genuinely concerned about people coming home from pubs or Christmas parties and trying to cook. Alcohol and cooking is a recipe for disaster as it’s easy to fall asleep and leave cooking on the hob.

“If you’re out drinking on Friday or Saturday it’s much safer to grab a kebab or some chips than trying to cook under the influence.”

Takeaway firm JUST EAT is lending its support by offering five lucky people a £20 online voucher on Twitter. People need to tweet #nodrunkcooking with the takeaway dish that has saved their life. Winners will be announced at 3pm on Friday.

UK Managing Director at JUST EAT, Graham Corfield, said:

“We’re in full support of the #nodrunkcooking campaign and would encourage everyone to stay safe on a night out over the festive period, whether they are drinking alcohol or not. If getting merry is going to be a big part of the night, ordering a takeaway beforehand will line the stomach, while ordering on the way home could save your life. There are thousands of local takeaway restaurants in London, so you’re free to enjoy the night without risking anyone’s safety.”

Research carried out for Drinkaware, shows the extent of people’s drinking over the festive season. They found that over half of people say they plan to drink more in December than any other time of the year and of those people, over a quarter admit it’s a time when they think they can drink as much alcohol as they like without feeling guilty. One in five say they drink more because it is encouraged by friends, colleagues and family.

As in previous strikes, the Brigade will have 27 fire engines based at strategic locations and contingency crews will deal with emergencies across London during the strikes but it will not replicate a normal service and some less serious incidents, like fire alarms and bin fires, will not be attended.

The FBU strikes are planned for Friday, 13 December between 6pm and 10pm and Saturday 14, December between 6pm and 10pm.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Analysis by the Brigade reveals a checklist of lifestyle traits shared by the young professionals who, in the last three years, were responsible for more than 4,500 of London’s 18,000 house fires.

It reveals that they are likely to:

• be degree educated
• live in smart rented flats
• earn more than £40,000 a year
• enjoy keeping fit
• Go to the cinema twice a month, regularly go clubbing and drink alcohol more than three times a week

Mosaic Group G ‘Young, well-educated city dwellers were found to be responsible for 25 per cent of London’s fires. The lifestyle data provides a detailed and accurate understanding of each citizen's location, their demographics, lifestyles and behaviours.

No endorsement or recommendation of the services or products of ‘Just Eat’ is implied or given by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority which runs the London Fire Brigade.

During the strike firefighters will attend:

Serious fires –  like those in Londoners’ homes – confirmed by a 999 call
Fires that involve gas cylinders or hazardous substances.
Explosions
Vehicle fires or boat fires
Fires at railway stations and rail and road tunnels or fires involving people in underground tunnels
Aircraft or train crashes
Road traffic collisions
Collapsed structures

During the strike firefighters may not be able to attend:

Grass fires and other outdoor fires such as trees, hedges or undergrowth alight.
Rubbish fires (including fires in bins and skips) and fires on open ground.
Animal rescues (these will be referred to the RSPCA).
People shut in lifts (owners of buildings are responsible for ensuring arrangements are in place to release people from faulty lifts).
Flooding Automatic fire alarms – a fire engine will only be sent when the fire has been confirmed by a 999 call.

Research by the Brigade in 2010 also showed that:

•             Alcohol is suspected as being an influencing factor at 1 in 19 fires in the home.
•             Where people are involved (as a fatality, casualty or rescue) then alcohol is suspected as being an influencing factor in 1 in 7 of accidental fires in the home.
•             Where alcohol is a factor in the fire, the main cause is most often ‘cooking’ (75 per cent). The behaviour most often associated with the cause of the fires where alcohol is a suspected factor is either falling asleep (56 per cent) or being distracted (11 per cent).
•             Alcohol had been consumed by the victims of 1 in 4 fire deaths in the home.