Fire cuts: Hornchurch’s doomed fire rescue unit cuts people out of car crashes more frequently than London average - new figures

PUBLISHED: 16:18 22 August 2013 | UPDATED: 16:18 22 August 2013

Fire Brigades Union rep Joe MacVeigh

Fire Brigades Union rep Joe MacVeigh


Hornchurch Fire Station’s doomed fire rescue unit (FRU) could be among the capital’s busiest for road crash rescues, figures obtained by the Recorder show.

Data compiled by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) from the London Fire Brigade’s own internal MOBIS system shows the engine – due to be axed within three weeks as part of a £29million savings package – has cut 100 people out of vehicles since April 2012.

That’s 43 rescues for every 100 call-outs it receives.

By contrast, a spokesman for the brigade (LFB) said FRUs across London had carried out 34 rescues for every 100 call-outs in the three-year period to April 2013.

The LFB could not provide figures covering the same period as the union’s, but for the three-year period Hornchurch carried out 35 rescues per 100 call-outs.

Despite its above-average rescue rate, the brigade pointed out Hornchurch’s FRU was actually called out less frequently than others, citing Edmonton in north London as an example.

“Hornchurch’s FRU attended 423 road traffic accidents over the three-year period April 2010 to April 2013 and firefighters released someone from a vehicle on 150 occasions,” he said.

“The FRU at Edmonton attended 912 road traffic collisions – more than twice the number of Hornchurch’s.”

Hornchurch’s FRU is the nearest specialist rescue engine to Havering, Barking and Dagenham and parts of Redbridge.

Without it, East Ham’s FRU 10 miles away will be our closest.

Brigade chiefs argue Hornchurch is called out less frequently than other FRUs further into London.

FBU rep Joe MacVeigh said that was because there was less “doubling up” in outer London – with fewer FRUs covering a larger area, there’s more chance of Hornchurch being the first or only one on the scene of a crash.

The borough is among London’s worst for serious and fatal road crashes. For the period 2009-12, Havering came second out of all London boroughs for the number of crash fatalities, while neighbouring boroughs Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham were both in the top 10.

Havering and Redbridge are also in the top 10 for injuries and serious injuries sustained in road crashes.

“The brigade is trying to put it across that it’s surplus to requirements,” said Joe Macveigh. “It’s complete and utter nonsense – these figures prove that they’re wrong.

“The people of Havering will lose out in the long run.”

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