London Fire Brigade: Boris Knows Best


Mayor Overrules Brigade Leaders

Boris at the Wheel?

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson is pressing ahead with cuts to the London Fire Brigade (LFB) which would result in a decrease of 520 firefighters.  A dozen stations and some 18 engines would be closed or placed out-of-service.

The LFB is one of the world’s largest fire services, deploying about 5,800 firefighters at 122 stations across the 600 square mile city.

A few days ago the  London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority declined to press ahead with the measures citing a threat to public safety.  The Mayor was apparently unconvinced.

American born and conservative politician Boris Johnson is gaffe prone, absurd and re-electable.  A bit of Johnsonian political philosophy: “if you vote for the Conservatives, your wife will get bigger breasts, and your chances of driving a BMW M3 will increase.”

The Fire Brigade’s Union (FBU) regional secretary for London, Paul Embery, said, in part: “These cuts are reckless and wrong, and it is an outrage that the mayor is going against the democratic decision of his own fire authority and the wishes of most Londoners. The mayor makes the absurd claim that these cuts would somehow improve public safety. But the London Fire Brigade’s own figures reveal that the cuts would result in increased response times for nearly five million Londoners, with only a fifth of the capital’s population seeing an improvement.”

One wonders if the FBU would have a stronger hand if they engaged in the integrated delivery of both basic and advanced medical care?



  • Tony Araujo says:

    “One wonders if the FBU would have a stronger hand if they engaged in the integrated delivery of both basic and advanced medical care?”

    Isn’t this the very same strategy that the IAFF recommends to it’s locals to avoid tackling the issues of efficiency and effectiveness in the fire service? I guess that this is one of the benefits of integrated Fire/EMS. Muddy the waters and ensure the citizens don’t think you’re redundant by filling your “spare time” with ineffective EMS services.

    Too cynical an interpretation?

  • BH says:

    EMS in England is run by the National Health Service. Good luck taking it away from them to justify jobs for firefighters.

    it would be no different than a US department attempting a similarly hostile takeover of an otherwise effective EMS agency- no reason, we just want our jobs. Screw yours.

  • Eric Lamar says:


    I am not suggesting they “take it over”. It’s hard to believe that critical response times couldn’t be improved if they also provided initial response.


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FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Eric Lamar
Kathmandu, Undone
Thanks. I have no contact but I am pretty sure it is on New Road near Kantipath. Be prepared for a language barrier with the firefighters but those used to working with westerners do well with english. Take someone along who speaks Nepali. I know this is outside of your mission but if you can…
2015-04-28 15:10:52
Kathmandu, Undone
Great article. Do you have any information on the locations of the fire houses or a contact for anyone there? I am part of a disaster deployment team and a New York City Firefighter. I am heading to Nepal in 2 days... Would love to check in on these guys and see what we can…
2015-04-28 13:56:08
Kathmandu, Undone
This is really interesting. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your knowledge.
2015-04-28 12:16:38
Mike Schwartz
Kathmandu, Undone
Eric, thank you for reminding me to do something to support the relief efforts. Mike
2015-04-27 21:45:24
Mark Sileikis
Kathmandu, Undone
Dr. Lawrence, I work for the State Dept. now has you did many years ago. Things have not changed for most of the world. Currently in Lome, Togo
2015-04-27 16:30:02
February 2013
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