Partnership plan to protect vulnerable
New borough commander ready for challenge
HILLINGDON’S new London Fire Brigade Borough Commander is on a mission to ensure vulnerable people are fitted with fire alarms.
Richard Claydon, who will soon be reaching 30 years of service, moved from his previous post as Harrow borough commander to Hillingdon on June 1 for “more of a challenge”.
He said: “I live in Ruislip so I have a personal connection. Although it’s a safe and well-performing borough, there’s still challenges and it can always do better.”
Mr Claydon, 50, wants to reach out to the elderly and people with mobility issues or drug and alcohol dependability.
“Most of the vulnerable people in the borough will have intervention from Hillingdon Council, adult services, children’s services, safer neighbourhoods teams with the police, there’s a whole raft of people that we work with,” he said.
“Those at most risk of fatal fires are sadly the people we don’t know about, so when I speak to these partners I can find out as the police or council may know about them so communication is key.”
He said a partnership referral scheme is being set up so partner agencies can alert the Fire Brigade to vulnerable people within 48 hours and fit them with fire alarms.
Mr Claydon is taking the approach that prevention is better than cure, and will arrange ‘home fire safety visits’ around the borough.
There has been a drop in the number of incidents and fire crews respond to 50% fewer cases than 10 years ago, which Mr Claydon says is down to the community safety and prevention work they do.
He added: “The biggest challenge in the borough is a recent spate of arson. On the old RAF camp, we did a lot of work with the RAF police, fire service and MOD and upped our presence so it seems to have gone away for the moment.
“The big danger here is danger to themselves because the buildings are derelict and once they’re alight they can develop into full fires.”
In a rolling 12 months between 2014-2015 there were 149 domestic fires, with candles and incense, smoking and cooking accidents the common cause of recent blazes.
n MISSION: Hillingdon Borough Commander Richard Claydon