SE1: Fire Brigade staff ‘miss emergency calls’ – because they have no phone signal in their basement office

Josh Salisbury (19 February, 2020) Emergency services

The Brigade said 999 calls weren't affected - but the report says staff were missing 'emergency response calls' because they have no signal

4604Pic: London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade staff have been missing emergency calls according to a report – because they have poor mobile phone signal in their SE1 office basement.

Firefighters in the Special Operations Group (SOG) have requested a move from their basement office in Union Street because “they have communication issues due to the lack of a mobile signal within their current area,” reveals a report presented to Commissioner Andy Roe last week.

Moving these staff would address “the issue of the mobile phone signal and emergency response calls being missed,” states the ‘Union Street Space Sufficiency Review’, first reported by the London SE1 website.

The Special Operations Group plays a key role in the Brigade’s response to ‘major’ and ‘critical’ events, and has responsibility for emergency planning.

But the London Fire Brigade insisted in a statement to the News that emergency calls weren’t affected – despite an internal report to the commissioner stating so.

“There have been some issues with the mobile signal in the basement at 169 Union Street where the Operational Resilience Department is located,” said a spokeswoman.

“This has not affected the Brigade’s response to 999 calls or to incidents – it has only affected some non-emergency calls made to staff who work within the Operational Resilience Department.”

The Brigade did not answer how many calls have been affected, how long the issue has been ongoing, or whether affected staff would now be moving.

The report also reveals concerns with the security of the fire brigade HQ building, promoting a review of the reception area.

Since last week the report which said that some emergency response calls were being missed by Brigade staff has been altered on the London Fire Brigade website.

In its place is an almost identical report – only with references to emergency calls being missed due to poor phone signal redacted instead.

The Brigade has been located at its Union Street HQ since 2007, having moved from Lambeth.

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