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29-01-21

NFCC responds to latest Home Office non-fire related statistics

The latest Home Office statistics - which put non-fire incidents under the microscope – reveal a six per cent increase in fatalities and call outs during last year 12 months.

Responding to the figures which covers April 2019 to March 2020, Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) Roy Wilsher said: “I am saddened to see this increase in fatalities, and we need to see this reduce. We will continue to work with our partners, with a focus on the areas these deaths are happening.

“It is also disappointing to see an increase in callouts across a range of areas. However, it truly reflects what I have always known – the fire service is on hand to assist where and when it is needed the most and it’s not just fires.

“The increase in assisting other agencies is a clear example of how FRSs respond to requests from our partners. This has never been more apparent that during the response to the pandemic, with the fire service carrying out more than 400,000, the majority supporting other organisations. 

The fire service is on hand to assist where and when it is needed - and it’s not just fires.

NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher

“This is one area I expect to see rise in the next set of statistics, showing how dedicated FRS staff are here to help. The pride shown by fire service staff undertaking work in the heart of their communities is humbling, and we can see the different it is making.

“This particular set of statistics is always disappointing for me, as it clearly highlights the positive impact the emergency medical trials had following their introduction in 2015 and the reduction in numbers following the subsequent withdrawal in 2017.

“This work had agreements in place with ambulance trusts to undertake health and care related work.

“Yet we have seen in recent months how the FRS is well-placed to support this work. Centrally collated statistics show firefighters have carried out a shift for ambulance service more than 93,000 times since March.”

83 per cent of the increase in incidents attended were accounted for across three areas: Assisting other agencies (24%) flooding and rescue or evacuation from water (22%) and effecting entry/exit (6%).  The increase in flooding response shows yet again that England lags behind Wales and Scotland on firming up the role of fire and rescue services.

While non-related fire incidents have increased by 6 per cent in the last year, this is the latest in an increase of 37 per cent over the last five years.

The number of Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) remained largely the same and there is reference to how the first COVID lockdown impacted on this. The Home Office also collated pandemic statistics which went past the usual reporting date range.

Mr Wilsher commented that there are still too many people dying on the roads and this trend must change: “Firefighters attended more than 31,000 RTCs in the past twelve months and there were 628 deaths. Tragic loss of life on this scale is devasting to see; NFCC will continue to work with our partners in this area through our dedicated road safety and prevention work. While this is a reduction on previous years, there were less people on the roads due to the first lockdown, which is likely to have had an impact.”

Mr Wilsher also added that the increase in the number of false alarms was disappointing to see. FRSs attended 231,500 call outs to these; time which could be spent on other vital – and often life saving - activities.

2019/2020 statistics:

  • 2,618 fatalities in non-fire incidents. An increase of six per cent compared with last year
  • 38,022 non-fatal casualties in non-fire incidents. A decrease of three per cent compared with last year
  • 171,959 non-fire incidents. This is an increase of six per cent from the previous year (162,253) and an increase of 37 per cent from five years ago (125,239).
  • Road traffic collisions (31,088 incidents, virtually unchanged compared with 2018/19)
  • Effecting entry/exit (26,339 incidents, a six per cent increase compared with 2018/19)
  • Assisting other agencies (18,330 incidents, a 24% increase compared with 2018/19)
  • Firefighters were called upon to attend suicides and attempted suicides, which rose from 1,910 to 2,035.
  • 7,459 non-fire false alarms. A three per cent increase compared with the previous year (7,272) and an increase of 42 per cent compared with five years ago (5,241).
  • 17,505 flooding and rescue or evacuation from water incidents. An increase of 22 per cent compared with the previous year (14,381) and an increase of 32 per cent compared with five years ago (13,215).
  • fire false alarms increased to 231,500, a small increase compared with the previous year (231,224) but a 19 per cent decrease compared with ten years ago (285,368).
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