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Fire chief warns against complacency

Fire chief warns against complacency

A new prime-time drama based around the Great Fire of London has begun airing on ITV, providing the perfect opportunity for the capital's fire brigade to highlight the significant reduction in blazes.

According to the force, there were 57 fires per day in London last year, compared with 111 just a decade ago. This means the number of incidents has halved since 2004/05 and is currently the lowest on record.

This is despite the fact the population of the city has increased by close to a million people in the last ten years.

However, London Fire Brigade (LFB) commissioner Ron Dobson has called on residents to remain vigilant.

"We shouldn’t be complacent as fire can still kill or seriously injure just like it did 350 years ago [in the Great fire]," he explained.

"In the past, Londoners worried about sparks from open fires and overcrowded streets next door to workplaces like foundries, smithies and glaziers. Now we need to be concerned about fake phone chargers, converted buildings which are unsuitable for accommodation and careless disposal of cigarettes."

As well as being more vigilant and taking steps to reduce fire risks, homeowners can significantly reduce the chance of a disastrous blaze affecting their property by ensuring they have a functioning alarm fitted. The clocks go back at the end of the month and this is considered to be the ideal time to check an alarm works and replace the batteries if required.

The LFB also conducts regular visits to the homes of vulnerable groups, helping to ensure they have a detector fitted and explaining how to minimise the chance of a fire. 

Last year, a report published by the organisation suggested these visits prevented 5,000 fires, with households that had been attended by an expert up to 18 times less likely to experience a blaze.

A social media campaign has also helped to reduce the number of fires involving young professionals by two per week. This category of residents in London is responsible for around a quarter of all incidents.  

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