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Soaring number of emergency calls to London Fire Department prompts changes

Protecting the lives and property of Londoners is growing more challenging for the London Fire Department (LFD) as calls for service climb.

According to the LFD’s new 2022 Master Plan, there was a 22 per cent rise in calls for service from 2016 to 2021.

The increase is the net result of a 39 per cent rise in emergency calls (9,103 in 2021), partially offset by a 22 per cent decrease in non-emergency calls (2,062 in 2021).

Almost half of the calls received are for fire alarms (26 per cent) and medical emergencies (23 per cent).

2022 London Fire Department Master Plan (Courtesy: City of London)Fire Chief Lori Hamer says the corresponding 10-year action plan will be an evolving document emphasizing prevention through fire safety enforcement and education.

“We’re also doing a lot of education around fire alarm testing, to try and help,” explains Chief Hamer.

Despite the surge in calls, the 90th percentile response time has only risen by 11 seconds since 2016 (6:15 in 2021).

However, there are emerging challenges to response times as London continues to grow and evolve.

The report points to the proliferation of traffic calming devices on residential streets and the city’s push for more high-rise development.

2022 London Fire Department Master Plan (Courtesy: City of London)“There is an additional response time depending on if somebody is in the lobby or on the 30th floor,” explains Chief Hamer.

The London plan’s unofficial motto to “build up, not out” means more and more people will live in high rises— the LFD Master Plan estimates an additional 15,000 people in the next 10 years.

“We do have plans approved for an additional aerial company at Station 15 to help provide coverage in the city as it’s required,” adds Chief Hamer.

The Civic Works Committee will receive the London Fire Department Master Plan and strategy to address the challenges at its June 21 meeting. Top Stories

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