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London Fire Brigade declares major incident over Storm Eunice – South London News

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Firefighters in London have declared a major incident over the chaos and extensive damage caused by Storm Eunice – after 550 calls in 150 minutes, or more than usual daily average.

Crews and control are having an exceptionally busy day as the storm causes chaos across the capital, with winds of up to 100mph recorded in some areas.

Firefighters are still answering emergency calls, but declaring a major incident allows it to focus our resources – because some residents have called about tents or trampolines being blown into neighbours’ gardens.

Control staff have introduced batch mobilisation to certain incidents, which means calls where there is a risk to life are prioritised and crews then attend other calls as non-emergencies when they can.

It’s introduced so all the brigade’s resources aren’t tied up dealing with a spate of non-emergency calls in one area.

Its Control Room took 550 calls between 1030 and 1300 – which is more than the average number usually taken in a 24-hour period.

The high volume of calls has also prompted the brigade to reiterate its advice for people to only call 999 if there is an emergency or if there’s an immediate risk to life.

While crews will respond to genuine emergencies where they can act to make a scene safer, they will not attend incidents such as the above where there is no risk to life and Control Officers are advising callers of this. They have also been telling callers they need to phone the local council if a tree has come down in the road or speak to their insurance company if a tree has fallen on their property or vehicle.

Some of the more genuine urgent incidents crews have attended this morning include:

  • A van overturned on the M11
  • Scaffolding in a precarious position in Islington
  • A balcony collapse in central London
  • A large container on top of a high-rise building in a precarious position on the Isle of Dogs
  • Canvas roof loose at the O2 in Greenwich

Firefighters are reiterating their advice to ensure loose items on and around your property are secured and are also advising Londoners to stay indoors where possible and only travel if it’s absolutely necessary.

The brigade’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Welch said: “Firefighters are ready and prepared to deal with incidents involving weather, whether that be flooding or high winds.

“We are continuing to work with our partners to ensure that our staff, vehicles and equipment are available to allow us to protect Londoners.

“However, we are here to respond to genuine emergencies so we would ask people to only call 999 in that situation or if there is an immediate risk to life.

“Our Control Officers and firefighters have been incredibly busy today and we want to ensure our resources are ready to respond to people who really need our help.”

The Brigade’s storm-related safety messaging:

  • Stay inside if possible and only travel if you need to. If you do need to travel, check your journey before you set out – with TfL or National Rail – and be aware of areas where you are likely to be exposed to side winds or falling debris.
  • If you are outside, don’t shelter under trees.
  • Please only call 999 in an emergency or if there is a risk to life. Calling about anything else prevents us from dealing with urgent calls. If a tree has fallen, report it to your local council.
  • You should, if you haven’t already, ensure loose items around your home and on balconies, like garden furniture, are secured or safely stored away.
  • If you have a power cut, take extra care with candles. Place them in fire resistant holders on a flat, stable surface where they won’t be knocked over. Make sure you put them out when you leave the room and especially before bed.
  • Check in on your neighbours by phone, particularly those who are vulnerable.

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