Fire brigade missing response time target in 11 boroughs

© Michael Spring | Dreamstime.com

Photo: Michael Spring | Dreamstime.com

The average response time for the fire service in 11 boroughs is longer than the 6-minute target set by the London Fire Brigade.

The latest data shows that the average response time for the capital as a whole is well within the target.  In 2015 the average time it took from the fire brigade being alerted by a 999 operator to the first engine arriving at the scene was 5 minutes and 38 seconds.

The average is even faster in the City of London and the 13 boroughs that constitute inner London.  But only 8 of the 19 outer London boroughs met the target in 2015. In 2014 it was 15.  While the target is set for London as a whole the fire brigade says it aims to achieve this at borough level.

The slowest average response time is recorded in Hillingdon at 6 minutes and 45 seconds. The fastest is in Kensington and Chelsea, a full 2 minutes quicker at 4 minutes and 44 seconds.  The response time in Lambeth is also under 5 minutes.

fire service response

The response time is made up of two elements – the crew turn out time – how long it takes them to leave the fire station once alerted – and the travel time to the fire. The average turn out time for crews across London is 1 minute and 19 seconds, although crews in Newham have got the average down to 1 minute and 3 seconds.  The London Fire Brigade say that variation in turn out times is due to the layout of stations with times a little longer in older stations.

Travel times vary according to time of day and traffic conditions but also according to the location of fire stations.  The LFB says that the clustering of resources in inner London mean faster response times than in the outer areas of the city.

The London Fire Brigade deals with around 100,000 incidents per year.  The data shows that the attendance time of the first appliance was 6 minutes or under in 65% of calls.

The Brigade has 155 fire engines at 102 fire stations across London.  10 stations were controversially closed due to budget cuts in 2014 and a study by statistician Dr Benjamin Taylor at Lancaster University found that fewer than 50% of calls now met the 6 minute target in the areas around the closed station.

The London Fire Brigade says that it is committed to a principle that “Londoners should have equal entitlement to the fastest possible attendance times.”

Source data

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