NFCC response to latest Home Office figures - a decrease in the number of incidents attended

Latest figures from the Home Office show a seven per cent decrease in the number of incidents attended by fire and rescue services (FRSs) in England in the year ending March 2021 compared to the previous year.

The number of fires overall has decreased by two per cent, while fires in high-rise flats and maisonettes have dropped by six per cent.  The number of fire fatalities fell from 245 to 240 - the lowest figure in a financial year since comparable data became available in year ending March 1982.

Responding to the national statistics NFCC Chair Mark Hardingham said: “It is great news that the number of incidents attended by fire and rescue services in England continues to fall; this is testament to the great work that FRSs continue to undertake around prevention and protection, and the innovative ways in which they have delivered this during the pandemic, when face-to-face interventions were not always possible.

“It’s important to remember that these figures relate to a period when life was significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic, so we must see them in context and continue to recognise the on-going work that is required to ensure communities remain as safe and resilient as they can be.

“Despite the huge amount of positive and proactive work carried out nationally and locally, incidents, and sometimes very serious incidents, do still happen; it is of critical importance that we maintain a well-resourced FRS to respond professionally and safely to national and local emergencies.

“Of equal importance is the regulatory role of the FRS in the built environment, alongside the on-going work at a national level to drive building safety reform.”

The fire and rescue incident statistics, England (year ending March 2021) report on all incidents attended and are sourced from the Home Office’s online Incident Recording System (IRS).

Overall, records show a 20 per cent decrease in incidents in England compared to 10 years ago.

Mr Hardingham added: “There is no doubt that in recent years we are seeing the impacts of climate change on the type and frequency of incidents attended – as highlighted in the recent UN report - and this is reflected in the current situation in Greece.

“I am proud that our UK firefighters, equipped with high levels of skill and training, have been able to respond and support colleagues in Greece in recent weeks.

“Resolving and responding to incidents such as wildfires, flooding and other climate-related events is something that the public has come to expect from the FRS. We need to continue to develop our understanding of the impact of this on the future role of the FRS as part of resilient local communities, and act accordingly to ensure FRSs are resourced and equipped to be able to respond professionally, safely and appropriately.

“We have also seen the additional work undertaken by firefighters during the pandemic, as well as increased collaboration with our partners, both in responding to incidents and in other areas of their work. Now more than ever it is essential that we have a well-funded, appropriately resourced and adequately-equipped fire and rescue service that is fit for the future and the challenges that lie ahead.”   


Key findings:
  • FRSs attended 518,263 incidentsin year ending March 2021 - a seven per cent decrease compared with the previous year (558,013)
  • 151,086 of all incidents these were fires - a two per cent decrease compared with the previous year (154,180)
  • Fires accounted for 29 per cent of incidents attended, fire false alarms 42 per cent and non-fire incidents 29 per cent
  • There were 61,912 primary fires, a ten per cent decrease compared with the previous year (68,771) 
  • FRSs attended 726 fires in purpose-built high-rise (10+ storeys) flats/maisonettes, a six per cent decrease compared with the previous year (775)
  • FRSs attended 216,149 fire false alarms, a seven per cent decrease compared with the previous year (231,630)



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