Fire service fail to hit target response times for Radlett and Bovingdon during the time fire engines were removed

Hertfordshire fire service failed to hit its own 999 response times to incidents at Radlett and Bovingdon in the four weeks that fire engines were removed during the recent dispute. And support for Borehamwood crews, normally provided by Radlett, took up to 46 minutes to arrive from London.

These disastrous facts fly in the face of assurances by politicians that the Radlett and Bovingdon areas would be easily covered by other fire stations after they are permanently closed next week on 31st July.

With only 6 days to go, local campaign groups and the FBU are calling for the Council to delay the closure of the stations to give Councillors time to review what they had previously been assured by Fire Chiefs. The council has agreed the budget for the stations up to 31st March 2007.

Tony Smith, FBU Herts vice-chair said: “Local fire crews analysed the response times, which was only possible because the county council removed the fire engines from Radlett and Bovingdon during the dispute.

“Of the 25 calls to incidents at Radlett and Bovingdon only 3 were within the promised time for first arrival and one took over 20 minutes. Of the 16 incidents at Bovingdon none of them hit the promised response times. One took 20 minutes 36 seconds, another 18 minutes 57 seconds, two others over 14 minutes and another just over 13 minutes. Of the nine incidents in Radlett only three hit the promised response times.

“Of the ten incidents in Borehamwood, which would have normally been supported by Radlett, the worst response time was 46 minutes from London. Three others took over 20 minutes and another 17 minutes and 53 seconds for a fire engine to arrive from London.

“The county council’s removal of the fire engines gave us a unique opportunity to see what would happen to response times if station closures went ahead and the results are alarming. Apart from the communities directly hit in Radlett and Bovingdon, this has a knock on effect across the County.

“Borehamwood would be directly affected by Radlett’s closure as would the areas where Bovingdon would normally be in support. If councillors press ahead with these closures they will be playing Russian roulette with firefighter and public safety. You can’t run a 999 service on the basis that you will stay lucky because somewhere, for someone, that luck will run out.

“Councillors are now in a position to make an informed judgment, not one based on claims and theoretical - the facts speak for themselves. The savings they will make are tiny in comparison to a death, injury or greater fire damage caused by delays in getting to incidents and they should think again.”

Local campaigners and the FBU will be coming together at a public demonstration against the station closures on Monday 31st July 2006 ending in a rally at St. Mary’s Place, Watford at midday.


Editors Note:

A press conference will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, 78 – 80 Watling Street, Radlett WD7 7NP at 9am on Monday 31st July.

Radlett & Bovingdon firefighters, together with representatives from the two action groups will be on hand to make statements and answer questions on the closures of the two fire stations.

Attached: Save Radlett Fire Station Press Release

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