London Fire Brigade

Stay safe as Fire Brigades’ Union launch strike

23 October 2010

Last-minute attempts by the London Fire Brigade to avoid today’s (23 October) FBU strike have fallen on deaf ears but the Brigade is continuing to reassure Londoners that it will be responding to 999 calls throughout the FBU’s eight hour walk-out.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said: “Today we’ll be responding to 999 calls and doing everything we can to protect the public during this unnecessary FBU strike using our contingency plans. The public can really help us by taking extra care and taking extra time today to think about fire safety.” Watch the Commissioner's video message.

Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Brian Coleman said: “This action is based on suggested cuts, there are no cuts, this strike is pointless and unjustified, and we must focus on talks to resolve the dispute.”

Plans are in place to provide fire cover across the capital during the strike, and a fire engine will be sent to a wide range of emergencies including fires in people’s homes, vehicle fires, road accidents and collapsed buildings. But the plans were never intended to match the Brigade’s day to day cover so a fire engine may not be sent to less urgent and non life threatening incidents and London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson wants all Londoners to follow a five point fire safety plan:

1. Check your smoke alarm to make sure it works
2. Know what to do if you have a fire – get out, stay out and call 999
3. Take extra care when you are cooking or smoking
4. Share fire safety – talk to friends and family (visit for advice)
5. Only dial 999 in a genuine emergency.

Since the FBU announced their intention to ballot for strike action on 16 September, the Brigade has been putting its contingency arrangements in place working with businesses, charities and Local Authorities to explain the plans and distributing thousands of leaflets explaining how Londoners can prevent fires.

Notes to Editors:

The strike begins at 10.00am and ends at 6.00pm.

Firefighters will attend:

  • Serious fires - like those in Londoners homes – confirmed by a 999 call
  • Vehicle fires or boat fires
  • Fire that involve gas cylinders or hazardous substances
  • Explosions
  • 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

Firefighters may not be able to attend:

  • Grass fires and other outdoor fires such as trees, hedges or undergrowth alight
  • Rubbish fires (including in bins and skips) and fires on open ground
  • Leakages and spillages of petrol and other flammable liquids (these will be referred to Local Authorities)
  • Large 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

What's the strike about? Download our Questions and answers document.