Bromley fire service cuts will leave people in burning buildings for longer says union (From News Shopper)
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Bromley fire service cuts will leave people in burning buildings for longer says union
CUTS to Bromley’s fire services will leave people stranded in burning buildings for longer, according to a fire union secretary.
Bromley Fire Brigades Union secretary Eddie Thompson says closures to stations around Bromley would "dramatically impact" on call out times. London Mayor Boris Johnson has told London’s fire service it needs to cut £64m from its two year budget.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson has already highlighted £14m of possible back office cuts, but further savings need to be made elsewhere.
The London Fire Brigade has submitted a range of possible proposals to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) highlighting areas where the axe could fall.
One example recommends the closure of fire stations at Bexley, Greenwich, Biggin Hill, Deptford, Downham, Eltham, New Cross, Lee Green and Woolwich.
It also suggests adding a fire engine to Orpington, Lewisham and East Greenwich but removing one from Bromley.
Another suggestion is closing Biggin Hill, New Cross, Lee Green, Downham and Deptford fire stations.
This would include fire engines being added to Orpington but engines being removed from Bromley, Hayes, Erith and Sidcup.
London Fire Brigade has a target time of six minutes to get one fire engine to a fire and eight minutes for a second fire engine to arrive.
Mr Thompson said: "If Orpington gets a call and the appliances are out in Biggin Hill, it won’t be able to meet the attendance time it’s as simple as that.
"A second appliance might have to come from a different station further away.
"We are not allowed to enter a building to save someone until the second appliance has arrived.
"I know people who have been given warnings for doing that.
"Firefighters will have to decide whether they go in and save someone’s life or play by the rules.
"We don’t want that dilemma.
"The Bromley public won’t be able to get the service they deserve."
He added: "The real question we need to ask is if there’s another 7/7 in 2016 when all these cuts come in, will we be able to deal with it?
"The answer is no in my opinion."
Tina Hunwick, who watched her house go up in flames in February, said the cuts would make an "astronomical difference".
The 43-year-old, who now lives in Hillview Drive in Orpington, had to be re-housed when her previous home, in Petersham Drive, was destroyed by fire.
She said: "If it had been the case when it happened to me, they wouldn’t have been able to get there in time. "It would have been much worse for us.
"We were told if we’d been in the house another five minutes longer, we would have died."
London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ron Dobson said: "Having spent 33 years as a firefighter serving the capital during events including the bombing of Canary Wharf, the 7 July terrorist attacks and last summer’s civil disturbances, I will not propose anything that would put the lives of Londoners, or firefighters, at risk.
"It is important that the debate about the future of London’s fire service is based upon facts about the actual amount of savings the brigade needs to make and the proposals that will be published once this is known. "On going reports of individual stations closing are nothing but unfounded, sensationalised scare stories."
Formal proposals are expected to be submitted to the LFEPA in January.
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