New shift times for firefighters leave Londoners safer, says report

2:00pm Sunday 4th March 2012

Londoners are safer from fire thanks to new shift times, according to a London Fire Brigade report.

In May 2011, the brigade introduced changes to shift patterns which saw firefighters across the capital change from a nine hour day and 15 hour night to a 10.5 hour day to a 13.5 hour night.

The new findings, which are due to be presented to the London fire and emergency planning authority’s performance management committee on March 6, show that when comparing the period of May to December 2010 and May-December 2011:

• The time spent on community safety work went up by 42,229 hours, representing an increase of 13 per cent

• The time spent carrying out home fire safety visits where free smoke alarms are fitted in the homes of some of the capital’s most vulnerable people, went up by 11,198 hours, representing an increase of 27 per cent

• The time spent on training went up by 6,092 hours, representing an increase of 8 per cent.

Fire Authority chairman and leader, Councillor Brian Coleman, said: “The changes to firefighter start and finish times mean Londoners are safer than ever before.

“More smoke alarms are being fitted, more fire prevention work is being carried out and firefighters are completing even more vital training work.

“The news that more lives will inevitably be saved as a result of these changes makes the pain caused by months of industrial action and strikes in 2010 worth it.”

Dave Brown, assistant commissioner for operations and mobilising, said: “It is fair to say that the introduction of new start and finish times was a challenging period for all concerned.

“But, as predicted, it has led to improvements in the work our crews do to protect and serve the people of London.”

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