Owners and managers of buildings where lifts frequently break down could soon find themselves being charged for assistance from firefighters.
The London Fire Brigade says that from next month it will make use of legal powers to charge to attend non-emergency calls to release people from broken down lifts.
Brian Coleman, Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, stressed the Brigade would “always attend genuine emergencies where people are shut in lifts and other means of rescue are not available” but said firefighters are often “called repeatedly to release people from the same buildings and that is simply not acceptable.”
Coleman added: “Lift owners need to make proper provisions for their lifts – not firefighters”.”
When receiving 999 calls about a person shut in a lift operators will ask callers a series of questions to determine whether or not a fire engine needs to attend.
The brigade says it will now charge £260 + VAT from the tenth lift release at the same building within a twelve month period and for all calls where a lift is empty. The move is designed to ensure those responsible for lifts within buildings make suitable arrangements for their maintenance and to reduce the number of calls to the Brigade.
Number of lift incidents in year up to September 2009 by borough
Barking & Dagenham 273
Hammersmith & Fulham 599
Kensington & Chelsea 566
Tower Hamlets 1,688
Waltham Forest 115
Source: London Fire Brigade