Celebrities have added their voices to calls not to go ahead with the proposed closure of twelve fire stations across the capital.
As an Islington resident who would prefer my fellow Islington residents to remain unburnt, this cost-cutting plan worries me. There are some things that should never be run for profit, and the fire service is one of them. I think people feel this in their bones, and are grateful for the reassurance a not-for-profit fire service gives them.
Of course it's good news that the number of fires is decreasing. But that's no
reason to cut back on cover. By that logic, as John O'Farrell says, we should all save money by not buying smoke alarms.
– Samuel West, actor
It's easy to feel helpless in the face of the cuts but it is possible to fight back... Cuts to the Fire Service put lives at risk... Let's start by saving Clerkenwell Fire Station, and the hundreds of Fire Service jobs under threat across London. I don't doubt that the banks in the City, that did so much to land the country in the financial state it's in, have state of the art alarms and sprinkler systems. But the same can't be said for thethousands of flats throughout the Borough of Islington, where the extra waiting time for a Fire Engine to arrive will eventually lead to a tragedy.
– Alan Davies, Comedian and TV presenter
As a one time resident, and recently returned business user, I’m extremely unhappy at the proposed closure of Clerkenwell Fire station. Apart from anything else, the prospect of losing forty odd years worth of carefully stored drum kits due to lack of fire fighting support, fills me with alarm.
The London Fire Brigade plans to save £28.8m by closing 12 fire stations; removing 18 pumping appliances and redeploying four pumping appliances to other stations.
Under the proposals, the Brigade would maintain its existing London-wide target attendance target of getting a first fire engine to an emergency within an average six minutes and the second fire engine, if needed, within eight minutes.
"Closing 12 fire stations would have one result, and that would be to jeopardise public safety. Longer response times would cost lives."
– Paul Embery of the Fire Brigades Union
Labour London Assembly Member John Biggs said the cuts were unnecessary:
"Fire deaths are down in London, but this is down to the hard work and professionalism of our brave firefighters."On top of putting out fires they do a huge amount of community fire safety work. If they are cut back how will this work carry on?"
Consultation on controversial plans to close 12 fire stations and cut 520 firefighters' jobs in London ends at midnight. More than 20 public meetings have been held over the proposals, which the Chief Fire Officer Ron Dobson insists will not affect target response times to incidents.
His proposals were drawn up in response to a fall in the number of fires in the capital.