Mar 21 2013

Seen Around: HCJ’s “Lack of fire station loyalty”

fire_engineThe Harrow Observer (21.03.2013) carries a letter from Jaiya Shah, Chair of the Harrow Council for Justice, this week (“Lack of loyalty in fire brigade cuts“), lamenting – as is usual, it seems – Cllr Susan Hall for being “…behind the London Mayor’s plans to close fire stations.”

Those draft plans include closure of twelve fire stations, removal of a second fire engine from seven fire stations, and the addition of a second fire engine to four fire stations.

Ms Shah continues, “…these cuts… …are the real risk for safety and security of people in Harrow.”

firestation_letterBut has she actually read the draft plan? It may seem not. One of the four fire stations to gain a second appliance is Stanmore. In fact, Harrow benefits from the plan’s rebalancing exercise, necessary, no doubt, by the changing growth across the capital.

However, some of the achievable performance improvements at borough level are significant:

  • Only six boroughs would fail to meet the six minute standard for first appliance (seven boroughs currently fail), and four of these are within 15 seconds of the target. The slowest average first appliance performance would be in Enfield (at 6m:28s).
  • Only one borough would fail the second fire engine standard of eight minutes (Kingston at 8m:32s); five boroughs currently fail to meet the average standard.
  • All boroughs would achieve the first appliance standard of 95 per cent to arrive within 12 minutes.

In other words, the rebalancing of stations, appliances and fire-fighters, actually lessens the risk for the people of Harrow.

[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]No borough would move from within target to outside target…[/pullquote]The draft plan continues: “We have no plans to change the current normal or minimum number of crew on our regular fire engines or on most other appliances.”

The draft plan outlines a wide range of policies and measures which are intended to improve the safety of Londoners. It also includes details of how savings worth £28.8m could be made, involving the closure of 12 fire stations; the removal of 18 pumping appliances and the redeployment of four pumping appliances to other stations. In those parts of London with the worst response time performance, this would have a beneficial impact; in other places, the removal of appliances would have a detrimental impact, although London-wide, response time targets and standards of fire cover would continue to be met and at a borough-level more boroughs would meet the targets. No borough would move from within target to outside target based on average attendance times.

Residents are able to comment on the plan, and there will be a number of public meetings held across the capital from March 25, 2013 onwards. Harrow’s meeting is:

  • Tuesday, 16 April 7-9pm at Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow HA1 2XY

If you would like to receive a hard copy of the plan and the consultation leaflet, or request a translation, please phone 0800 9888 569 or email:londonsafetyplan@london-fire.gov.uk.

Given the HCJ’s recent attack on Cllr Hall for failing to provide a Shadow Budget, we can, no doubt, expect the HCJ to submit a Shadow Fire Plan shortly.

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1 comment

  1. Susan Hall

    Thank you iHarrow for pointing this out. I most certainly do support the proposals for many reasons and indeed Harrow residents will be better off if the plan is implemented. For reasons known only to themselves HCJ are hell bent on criticizing everything I do and this nonsense has gone on for three years. There are only three members of HCJ who I have never knowingly met, the only member I have ever known is the former Chairman and now Labour Cllr. Husain Akhtar, the vendetta is pathetic. I can only assume that they are in fact an undercover Political Organisation and use this front to try and attack the Conservatives. Perhaps the members of HCJ would like to attend the consultation on 16th April as I shall certainly be there. It would be good to see them face to face and they can put their numerous attacks to me personally, or will they continue to hide behind the guise of inaptly called Harrow Council for Justice.

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