Artemis Klassi has been spearheading a crucial campaign to save 10 central London fire stations under threat of closure. Â She is asking for our support at an event tomorrow, Tuesday 26 November. Read her guest blog to find out more…
There are plans by the Mayor Boris Johnson to close Belsize, Bow, Clerkenwell, Downham, Kingsland, Knightsbridge, Silvertown, Southwark, Westminster and Woolwich Fire Stations.Â He will cut 552 firefighters, 14 engines and 2 FRUs at the same time.Â This will happen on 9 January 2014.Â He wants to turnÂ our busy fire stationsÂ into luxury accommodation or free schools.
Unless we do something.
On Tuesday 26 November at 1145 am we will be holding another Red Balloon Event outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.Â This coincides with the judicial review of the Mayor’s decision.
We are looking for mothers, fathers, carers to come along with children and help us release red balloons to raise awareness of these closures.Â Red is the colour of fire engines.Â This is not party political but is issue-driven.Â LOTS of balloons to go around.
Those of you who need more information about why this issue is important: several recent big fires all required the services of stations due to close and would have had different outcomes had those stations already been closed.Â The Duck Tours Fire on the river a few weeks back needed five fire stations to respond: Westminster was the first responding station, assisted by Knightsbridge and Southwark and two other stations.Â The fire at St Thomas’s Hospital in October required evacuation and saw Southwark and Westminster responding (along with Lambeth and Dowgate).Â On 16 November the fire at No 1 Whitehall needed Westminster (first), Knightsbridge and SouthwarkÂ as well asÂ Lambeth.
If you still need more persuading, then please contact me directly so that I can give you facts and figures and video clips which explain that the human brain can only withstand 4 minutes of smoke inhalation.Â Under these proposals, it will take fire engines longer to reach us (on average six minutes but usually longerÂ eg 12 m if you live in Primrose Hill), whether they are responding to a road traffic accident, chemical or oil spillage, flood, terrorist attack, helicopter crash or fire.Â Firefighters do not just fight fire.
Do you have home insurance?Â Car insurance? Travel insurance?Â A fire station is an insurance policy.Â If these stations close, you will pay more on your home insurance premiums per year than it would cost to increase council tax and keep them open.
Please can you let me know if you can come (firstname.lastname@example.org or www.twitter.com/SLFS10).Â Please can you also tell everyone you know about this. I will be on the Strand from 930am that day waiting for you with red balloons. Please come.