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Fire statistics reveal concerning rise

27 August 2019

LATEST FIGURES from the Home Office show that the number of fires attended by Fire and Rescue Services across England have increased by nine per cent over the past 12 months, while the number of incidents have increased by two per cent.

Following this increase, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has once again called on the Government to ensure fire services are properly resourced – especially in areas such as prevention and protection - in a bid to see these figures reduce in the future.

The latest Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics covers the period of April 2018 to March 2019. The increase in fires is largely due to the 19 per cent increase in secondary fires, many being linked to last year’s unprecedented hot weather. Last year saw the greatest number of secondary fires since 2011. Primary fires decreased by one per cent over the same timeframe.

Overall, fires accounted for: 32 per cent of incidents; fire false alarms - 40 per cent, and non-fire incidents - 28 per cent.  

Chair of the NFCC Roy Wilsher commented, “It is very concerning to see the increase in incidents attended and particularly worrying to see the number of fires attended have increased. Demand on the UK fire and rescue service must be taken into account.

“In recent days we have seen more than 20 fire services support the major incident in Derbyshire via NFCC’s National Resilience arrangements and local mutual aid agreements, once again demonstrating the need for Fire Services to be resourced for risk as well as demand. This echoes the national response to wildfires we saw at Easter and the recent flooding in Lincolnshire.

“Recent independent inspections by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate raised concerns about whether fire and rescue services have enough resource and highlighted areas such as protection work, which has reduced drastically in recent years, mainly due to austerity. These areas, when coupled with a reduction of wholetime firefighters by 23 per cent since 2010, need addressing. Any forthcoming Spending Review must review and take these areas into account.

“We will also see more pressures following any changes which may be introduced following the review into building regulations. I look forward to working with the new Fire Minister Kit Malthouse who has been involved in the review and will be aware of these additional pressures on our already stretched resources.”