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14-05-20

Latest statistics show a fall in number of Fire & Rescue Service incidents

Latest figures released by the Home Office show that the number of incidents attended by Fire and Rescue Services in England have fallen.

The figures – which cover the year ending 2019 - include statistics on all incidents, fire-related fatalities and casualties from fire. The number of fires attended have fallen by 12 per cent and fire-related fatalities have reduced by ten per cent.

We must be ready for infrequent high impact events, Maintaining this resilience can only support the entire UK in future years

Roy Wilsher

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), Roy Wilsher, has welcomed the findings; but warns that now is not the time for complacency, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Fire and Rescue Services across the UK have taken on a number of nationally agreed additional activities; highlighting they are ready, willing and able to support the response to COVID-19.

Mr Wilsher said: “While I am pleased to see the reduction in the number of incidents attended, it is vital we do not become complacent. Fire and Rescue Service are working in unprecedented times; at this stage, we do not know how COVID-19 will continue to impact our communities and the future numbers or types of incidents.

“It is clear however that the excellent prevention and protection work undertaken by fire and rescue services has contributed to these reductions, which must be recognised and praised. Unfortunately, we have had to draw back from a number of these activities to adhere to social distancing and other safeguards.  We will not know the true impact for some time.

“While we are planning and modelling for a return to a ‘new normal’, COVID-19 has shown it is essential that we plan for risk, not just demand. We must be ready for infrequent high impact events, as well as the day-to-day activity.  Maintaining this resilience can only support the entire UK in future years.

“The stark reality is we need to ensure services can maintain a resilient response while planning for this new normality in unprecedented times. There are a number of unknown factors which we need to be able to respond to and understand. 

“We also need to consider the role of fire and rescue services in future, incident command and responding to emergencies is in our DNA and I am sure there is much more to support UK resilience.”

Key findings from the latest statistics show:

  • A 4% decrease in incidents attended
  • A 12% decrease in the number of fires attended overall
  • Total deliberate fires decreased by nine per cent
  • Fires account for 28% of all incidents attended, fire false alarms 41% and non-fire incidents 30%
  • fire-related fatalities fell by 10%, with a reduction of 5% fatalities in dwelling fires

Some of these figures should be viewed against the hot, dry conditions we saw in 2018, where we saw a large spike in outdoor fires.

Additional Fire and Rescue Services activities include: Transporting patients to and from Nightingale Hospitals; face shield assembly and packing; assisting with antigen testing; ambulance transport; driver training and instruction; assisting with face fit and delivery of PPE and medicines; the movement of bodies, driving ambulances, and assisting vulnerable people.

Fire and Rescue Services across England will receive a share of an additional £1.6 billion government funding - in the region of £48 million - to support the ongoing response to COVID-19.

This was largely driven by NFCC’ s work in highlighting the need for fire and rescue services to receive a fair share if the funding to help reduce the financial burden. Through highlighting their use of skills and capabilities to support the entire UK.

The full statistics can be found on the Home Office website.

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