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NFCC responds to Home Office fire statistics

03 December 2019

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council has voiced its concern that the latest Home Office figures show a six per cent increase in fire fatalities over the last year – and a 19 per cent increase in dwelling fire fatalities.

According to the statistics, there has been a 14 per cent increase in the number of fires over the same period and a two per cent increase in the number of incidents attended overall, with a 16 per cent increase in deliberate fires.

The Home Office figures ‘Fire & Rescue incident statistics, England, year ending June 2019’, published on 14 November, focuses on all incidents, fire-related fatalities and casualties.

NFCC chair Roy Wilsher commented, “It is deeply concerning to see this increase in the number of fatalities and fires.

“While there were no further reductions for fire and rescue services in the most recent government Spending Round, these figures illustrate why we must be resourced effectively; prevent fires, meet our statutory fire protection duties and deal with risk and demand.

“For more than a decade, we saw a decline in incidents but worryingly, this seems to be reversing. Between 2013 and 2016, this had reduced to around half a million per year but this year this now stands at more than 573,000 incidents.

I have written to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to highlight the long term under investment in fire services which has impacted our core roles.

“NFCC will also continue to press both the Home Office and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for further investment, particularly in fire protection.

“The recent findings of the Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1 report, coupled with recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review into building regulations, will lead to increased pressures on fire services. Therefore, we need to ensure services are given the support to transform to meet any challenges head on, with confidence.

The increase in fires can be largely attributed to the 28% per cent increase in secondary fires due to last year’s hot weather.

Fire false alarms continue to account for the majority of incidents attended (40 per cent), while fire accounted for 32 per cent with the remainder being non-fire incidents (28 per cent).

Key results:

  • There were 268 fire-related fatalities – an increase of 6%.
  • Three were 215 fire related fatalities in dwelling fires, an increase of 19%
  • FRSs attended 182,491 fires: A 14 per cent increase compared with the previous year
  • 28 per cent more secondary fires in the year ending June 2019
  • Total deliberate fires increased by 16 per cent
  • Primary dwelling fires attended by FRSs, just under three-quarters (74%) were in houses, bungalows, converted flats and other properties, whilst just over a quarter (26%) were in purpose-built flats
  • 17 per cent of all dwelling fires were in purpose-built low-rise (1-3 storeys) flats/maisonettes; seven per cent were in purpose-built medium-rise (4-9 storeys) flats and three per cent were in purpose-built high-rise (10+ storeys) flats
  • FRSs attended 798 fires in purpose-built high-rise (10+ storeys) flats, a two per cent decrease compared with the previous year (811)