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Fatal fires increase in the UK

15 May 2018

ANNUAL STATISTICS released by the government have shown that the total number fires and the number fatal fires have increased in the UK over the last year.

The report, Fire and rescue incident statistics: England, year ending December 2017, gives in-depth details into incidents attended by fire and rescue services between 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017. It is the third set of statistics published by the Home Office which cover the Grenfell Tower fire.

While the number of fire related fatalities have been on a downward trend for the past three decades, this year saw a 15 per cent increase, which includes the 71 fatalities at Grenfell Tower. This means in the last year there were 321 fatalities compared to 278 in the previous year.

There has also been a four per cent increase in fires attended, which increased from 169,588 fires compared with 162,427 the previous year (162,427). This represent a 50 per cent decrease compared with ten years ago (336,233 in 2006/07). The increase in fires is driven by an increase in secondary. fires with primary fires showing a small decrease. 

The fire and rescue service responded to a total of 563,527 incident compared to 560,874. This was a less than one per cent increase compared with the previous year and a 34 per cent decrease compared with ten years ago (854,371 in 2006/07). 

In addition, firefighters attended 223,383 fire false alarms, which is a one per cent decrease compared with the previous year (224,862), but a 37 per cent decrease compared with ten years ago (352,136). They also attended 170,556 non-fire incidents, which represents a two per cent decrease compared with the previous year (173,585). There had been a general decline in the number of non-fire incidents during the last ten years. 

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has responded to the latest fire incident statistics released by the Home Office. NFCC chair Roy Wilsher commented: “The trend of incidents and fires attending has fallen over the past ten years but it is disappointing to see an increase in fires attended during the past 12 months, despite it being relatively small.

 “It is also clear more work needs to be done on addressing false alarms, which currently account for 40 per cent of all callouts.

 “We must also look at the 15 per cent increase in fatalities during the last year; which includes the devastating loss of life at Grenfell Tower. The Hackitt Review - which is due to be published imminently - will make a number of recommendations with regard to current building regulations and fire safety.

 “In addition, the independent Grenfell Tower Inquiry will look at the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire. The Inquiry will then report back to the Prime Minister with the findings and recommendations. 

 “Myself and NFCC colleagues will continue to work with the Home Office to ensure fire and rescue services are appropriately represented within government, including presenting clear and concise messages about future needs, resourcing to risk, influencing the wider Fire Reform programme and working on the new inspectorate programme. It is vital the communities we serve continue to have confidence in the service they trust.” 

The full report can be found at www.gov.uk/government/statistics/fire-and-rescue-incident-statistics-england-year-ending-december-2017