A new report from the London Fire Brigade shows that since the introduction of new start and finish times for firefighters, Londoners are safer than ever before. In May 2011, the Brigade introduced changes to shift patterns which saw firefighters across the capital change from a nine hour day and 15 hour night to a 10.5 hour day to a 13.5 hour night.
The new findings, which are due to be presented to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Performance Management Committee on 6 March, shows that when comparing the period of May-December 2010 (prior to new shifts being introduced) to May-December 2011 (following the introduction of new shift patterns):
• The time spent on community safety work went up by 42,229 hours, representing an increase of 13 per cent
• The time spent carrying out home fire safety visits where free smoke alarms are fitted in the homes of some of the capital’s most vulnerable people, went up by 11,198 hours, representing an increase of 27 per cent
• The time spent on training went up by 6,092 hours, representing an increase of 8 per cent
Fire Authority Chairman and Leader, Councillor Brian Coleman, said: “The changes to firefighter start and finish times mean that Londoners are safer than ever before. More smoke alarms are being fitted, more fire prevention work is being carried out and firefighters are completing even more vital training work.
“The news that more lives will inevitably be saved as a result of these changes makes the pain caused by months of industrial action and strikes in 2010 worth it.”
Dave Brown, Assistant Commissioner for Operations and Mobilising, said: “It is fair to say that the introduction of new start and finish times was a challenging period for all concerned. But, as predicted, it has led to improvements in the work our crews do to protect and serve the people of London.
“Community safety work is vital as it allows firefighters to offer advice and smoke alarms to some of the most vulnerable people in society, including the elderly and those with impaired mobility.
“The findings show that these impressive results are just the start as the new system beds in. The increases in community safety work and training will continue well into the future.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Firefighter shift patterns
Previous firefighter shift pattern:
Day shift: 9.00am – 6.00pm (9 hours)
Night shift: 6.00pm – 9.00am (15 hours)
Current firefighter shift pattern (introduced in May 2011):
Day shift: 9.30am – 8.00pm (10.5 hours)
Night shift: 8.00pm – 9.30am (13.5 hours)
Home fire safety visits
The Brigade offers free home fire safety visits (HFSVs), where advice on how to prevent fires is offered and free smoke alarms are fitted where needed. HFSVs are targeted at those deemed to be most at risk from fire, including elderly people and those with limited mobility