ELL hospitals among worst for false fire brigade calls

Lewisham Hospital. Pic: Tom Bastin

Lewisham Hospital. Pic: Tom Bastin

Lewisham Hospital and Homerton University Hospital are among the top ten worst sites for false calls to the London Fire Brigade.

Fire fighters were called to Lewisham Hospital 62 times last year, making it the fourth worst in London, whilst Homerton University Hospital made 49 false calls.

More than a third of the London Fire Brigade’s call outs are false alarms, with hospitals being among the worst offenders.

Rob McTaggart, a spokesperson for the LFB said: “Last January, the LFB began recovering £295 for the tenth false alarm attended at the same site within a twelve month period and for all subsequent false alarm call outs. This has contributed in a yearly reduction of 7.3%, but the fire chiefs want to see greater improvement.”

Last year, Lewisham Hospital had to dish out £15,340 because of the vast amounts of false alarms that take place on their premises.

Neil Orbell, Head of fire safety at the LFB, said: “This is not a money-making scheme and the last organizations we want to charge are hospitals.”

“However, we are called to over 30,000 false alarms every year and some hospitals we go to every week.”

“We want to work with hospitals on this issue which is why we will wait until the tenth call before we start to recover our costs.”

McTaggart added: “The majority of automatic fire alarms are false alarms caused by faulty or badly maintained systems or things like burnt toast, steam or dust.”

A spokesman for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “We have been working to reduce false alarms, for example by ensuring there are appropriate protective covers on fire alarms so they are not set off accidentally or intentionally by patients or members of the public.”

The LFB are hoping that the new false alarm fee of £295 will help to reduce the number of false fire alarms call-outs throughout the year. This will enable the LFB to spend more time training.

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