NFCC warns cost of living crisis could increase accidental fire count
23 October 2022
AS THE cost of living crisis worsens across the country, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is warning that there could be a sharp increase in accidental fires in the home as a result. The NFCC is “concerned” that the UK could see an increase in fire-related serious injuries – and potentially fatalities – as individuals look for alternative ways in which to stay warm, light their homes and reduce costs as energy bills continue to soar.
Rising costs mean that fire prevention in the home is now more important than ever. To address this issue, the NFCC has launched a new national campaign. Entitled ‘Stay Fire Safe’, the campaign – which is supported by the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services – will deliver vital information in a bid to help keep communities safe.
During the last three months of 2021 in England alone, there were 99 fire-related fatalities, with 76 of these deaths occurring in homes. That figure compares to 54 in the same quarter the year before and represents a 41% rise year-on-year.
For the year ending March 2022, accidental fires in homes in England caused by candles totalled 940. This is the highest number recorded in more than a decade. Around one third of these fire outbreaks resulted in death or injury.
Between 1 April 2021 and March this year, there were 208 fire-related fatalities in dwelling fires. This compares with 185 in the previous year, thereby representing a 12% increase.
By taking simple steps in the home, individuals can help to protect themselves from accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The NFCC campaign shares advice on heating appliances, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, candles and electrical safety. A key area of the campaign is signposting to where additional help could be available.
Rick Hylton, chair of the NFCC’s Home Safety Group, commented: “We know that people are going to be facing additional hardships as we move into the colder months. We want to ensure that fire safety advice is easily available to them. It’s likely that more people than ever before will need essential fire prevention advice as energy bills rise.”
Hylton continued: “It’s entirely possible that individuals and families who would never consider themselves to be vulnerable in the home could move into that bracket as they make changes and, potentially, increase the risk of fire.”
In addition, Hylton stated: “We absolutely acknowledge that many may be doing things differently as they face difficult decisions when the weather changes. We hope that our new campaign will help to highlight the dangers, offer simple solutions and keep people safe in their homes.”
The NFCC is also calling on people to carry out an online home safety fire check and not just for themselves, but also for their loved ones. An easily accessible online toolkit provides vital fire safety advice which is personalised. For those who are at a higher risk, the local Fire and Rescue Service can conduct home visits to provide additional help and support.
Tenants should also ensure that their landlords – or housing providers – have installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This is a legal obligation. Further changes are coming into force across parts of the UK. This will see the installation of more life-saving alarms in more homes.