London Fire Brigade

Firefighters on high alert during cold snap

26 November 2010

Snow in London streetWith the earliest onset of cold weather in almost 20 years and temperatures set to plummet to as low as -4°in the coming days, London’s firefighters are on high alert to protect the capital’s residents. 

To help prevent people from being seriously injured, or worse, from falling through ice in frozen ponds and lakes, London Fire Brigade has deployed water rescue capability across the capital. The extra equipment includes emergency rescue boats, inflatable rescue paths, mud lances, thermal clothing and dry suits.

The Brigade is also gearing up for an increase in incidents from the cold weather including:

  • Flooding caused by frozen pipes
  • Road traffic accidents caused by icy roads
  • Fires caused by people using candles, heaters and fires

The Brigade is urging the public to take extra precautions in order to keep themselves as safe as possible including:

  • Ensuring pipes in their homes are properly lagged, in order to reduce the risk of flooding caused by frozen pipes. The number of flooding incidents often shoots up during very cold weather. Firefighters attended 2274 floods in people’s homes between November 2009 - February 2010. There were over 150 flooding domestic flooding incidents on 7th January 2010 alone, which was one of the coldest days of winter.
  • Taking extra care in the home to avoid fires. Unattended cooking, candles and heaters all present a serious fire risk in the home.
  • Driving carefully on icy roads.
  • Staying well away from frozen ponds and lakes. London’s firefighters are called to rescue people and pets who have fallen through or become trapped on ice every year. Last year a number of people were rescued from frozen lakes and ponds.

Dave Brown, Assistant Commissioner for the Brigade’s Operations and Mobilising Department said:

“London Fire Brigade is taking every possible precaution to ensure we are prepared to deal with emergencies across the capital during the cold weather.

“Whether it is helping to save people from frozen ponds or pumping out flooded houses we are on standby round the clock to help. However, it is important that people take extra care during these next few days so that we do not have to be called out in the first place.

“If people take simple but effective steps to protect themselves from the cold snap it could mean the difference between either their life being put at risk or their home becoming flooded.”

The Brigade would like to remind the public that problems with plumbing and pipes should always be reported to a plumber in the first instance and to only call 999 in an emergency.


Notes to editors

For more information on London Fire Brigade’s emergency planning role see:

For more information on home fire safety go to

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