The capital’s councils and businesses face “tough” new fines if they rely on the London Fire Brigade to rescue passengers from lifts.
Building owners are supposed to make their own arrangements to deal with stuck and trapped lifts, but many fail to do so and instead rely on 999 crews to rescue occupants.
In 2009, in an effort to encourage owners to put proper measures in place, the capital’s fire authority introduced a policy of charging for attending non-emergency calls.
This Brigade says this has reduced the number of calls, but it believes the number of “unnecessary” call outs is still too high.
According to official statistics, firefighters last year attended 6,430 lift rescues, of these just 57 incidents – 1 per cent – were classed as emergencies.
In order to further reduce the number of call-outs, the cost of attending non-emergency incidents is increasing to £290+VAT. The increase was one of a number of measures contained in the new London Safety Plan which recently came into effect.
Confirming the increase, Fire authority Chairman, James Cleverly, said: “It is encouraging to see a reduction in lift call outs, however, firefighters are still attending 17 lift rescues each day. We hope this tough new charging scheme will send a clear message to building owners that this is not acceptable.
“As well as being costly for the fire service, being trapped in a lift can be frightening and uncomfortable which is why we’re calling on building owners to take responsibility and sort their shoddy lifts out.
“Firefighters will always attend a call out where it is a real emergency but in many of these cases it should be up to the person in charge of the building whose lift has broken down, to fix the problem.”
To highlight the problem the Brigade has released a list of the top ten worst offenders for non-emergency calls to people stuck in lifts:
Wendover House, Thurlow Street SE17 – 27
Hornbeam House, Maitland Park Villas, NW3 – 20
Earlsdown House, Wheelers Cross, IG11 – 19
Maydew House, Abbeyfield Road, SE16 – 16
Bradenham, Boyson Road, Walworth, SE17 – 15
Hillrise Mansions, Wartlersville Road, N19 – 15
Eddystone Tower, Oxestall Road, SE8 – 15
Delafield House, Christian Street, E1 – 14
Hastings House, Sherborne Avenue, EN3 – 13
Rothay, Albany Street, NW1 – 13