Our role

during the funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Across London Fire Brigade, staff mourned the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

We were proud to honour her memory by playing a critical role in preparing for her funeral, keeping Londoners and their guests safe and protected as they paid their final respects. 

London Fire Brigade is proud to have been the lead agency for search, rescue and hazard management response for the events.

Many hundreds of our people were involved, from Firefighters and Officers to Fire Inspectors and Engineers, Control staff at the London Operations Centre, IT, and our Communications team.

We worked together as one team across the Brigade, proud to play our part in the broad partnership of organisations that worked so hard to provide a fitting tribute to the late Queen’s lifetime of service.

The Coffin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, passes through Horse Guards.

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Protecting London

The Queen’s funeral brought millions of people to London. Some to work, and some to visit; we worked to protect them all. 

Our Fire Safety Inspectors got to work right away, auditing and inspecting both new and existing buildings to minimise the risk of fire. This included:

  • The Media Village that was built next to Buckingham Palace, where broadcasters and journalists were based
  • The temporary viewing platforms that were set up for members of the public to watch the ceremonial processions
  • Pop up businesses providing refreshments to the public
  • Accommodation for more than 2,500 additional military and police personnel
  • All central London transport hubs, where high volumes of visitors passed through
  • They’ve even inspected the floral tributes that were left in the Royal Parks!

This significant task was achieved in record time thanks to the use of the latest technology – 999Eye. Introduced to allow officers to view fire incidents remotely, the technology was used by Fire Safety Inspectors to conduct multiple inspections quickly and effectively. They issued a number of prohibition notices to premises at risk of fire. That included at least six enforcements notices and 17 Notification of Fire Deficiencies (NOD).

Technical Fire Safety Engineers supported their Operational Resilience colleagues by reviewing fire and evacuation strategies at key locations and operated 24 hours a day.

Firefighters handing out bottles of water to people in the queue.

Taking care of people in queues

The opportunity to pay private respects to the Queen as she lay in state was taken up by tens of thousands of people. Members of the public travelled for miles to take their place in a queue that exceeded four miles and took 30 hours at times. 

Our crews were on hand to help, with firefighters and appliances at ten points along the queue, 24 hours a day. Every station in London played its part, which meant 40 relief rotations and 160 engine movements each day to ensure they were in the right place at the right time. And they were all still available for operational response if needed.

We also had volunteers at the main transport hubs at the weekend, supporting the GLA team providing wayfinding and welfare support.

Firefighters handing out bottles of water to people in the queue.

Responding to incidents

London Fire Brigade has a target to reach incidents within six minutes; a target we maintained across London throughout these events. However, in the immediate vicinity of the events, and particularly during the processions, we moved our fire engines to strategic positions so that we could provide an instant response if needed.

Our fire boats were also on hand, patrolling the River Thames alongside the queues, ready to provide support.

Away from Central London, we had detailed plans in place to continue to deliver our service uninterrupted whilst crews supported the events.

UK Armed Forces convey The Queen’s coffin to Westminster Hall for lying-in-state.

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Ceremonial duties

We’re proud that two members of London Fire Brigade staff took their place in the funeral procession. They are represented fire and rescue staff from across the United Kingdom, along with 14 colleagues from other fire and rescue services. 

As we made our contribution to these historic events, we kept in mind His Majesty King Charles III and the rest of the Queen’s family, and the personal loss they experienced amidst these very public events.