Boris new LFB visitLondon Fire Brigade has announced it is teaming up with London Ambulance Service (LAS) to respond to life-threatening health emergencies in four of the capital's boroughs.

The trial, which will see firefighters respond alongside LAS paramedics to around 28 emergencies a week in Merton, Wandsworth, Newham and Lambeth launched last week (16 Feb) and will run for four months.

During the trial, if a 999 call received into London Ambulance Service's control room meets a set criteria, both the Brigade and the LAS will be dispatched to the incident at the same time. The criteria covers calls to patients whose condition is immediately life-threatening as a result of cardiac or respiratory arrest.

The move comes as London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that he will back the axing of 13 fire engines in the capital in an effort to save money.

Earlier this month London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson published a report on the Brigade's budget for 2016/17, which recommended the permanent removal of the 13 fire engines that have been out of service for the past two and a half years and reinvest some of the savings into increasing the number of staff available to crew fire rescue units.

After the proposals were discussed by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (17 Feb) the Mayor has declared he backs the recommendation citing that overall response times haven't suffered since the engines were removed.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said: “Frontline services and the safety of Londoners remain the Mayor's top priority, and after carefully considering the issues raised by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the results of the public consultation exercise, he has decided to direct LFEPA to follow the Fire Commissioner’s preferred option.

“Fires and fire deaths in London remain at a record low as the London Fire Brigade continues to do an excellent job. In the two and half years since these 13 appliances have been held back from the frontline, response time targets have continued to be comfortably met.

“The savings achieved by their permanent removal would allow more money to be invested in frontline officers, and help fund vital long term work to continue reducing the number of fires and deaths in the capital for many years to come.”

The 13 fire stations that had one of their two fire engines removed in August 2013 were Chelsea, Ealing, Erith, Forest Hill, Holloway, Old Kent Road, Plaistow, Poplar, Romford, Shoreditch, Stratford, Wandsworth, and Willesden.

Savings made as a result will be used to fund a one off investment in equipment for the homes of the most vulnerable, to help reduce the number of fires and fire deaths through initiatives including installing sprinklers, telecare and flame retardant bedding.