UK Government

Communities and Local Government: Fire statistics monitor: covering 12 month period up to 31 March 2009

Press Release   •   Dec 07, 2009 11:31 GMT

The latest fire statistics for England covering the 12-month period up to 31 March 2009 continue to show a fall in the total number of primary fires - down 10 per cent on 2007-08.

The Fire Statistics Monitor is published by Communities and Local Government and includes provisional figures for the UK and England figures on fires, fire deaths and injuries, and false alarm calls.

Key statistics for England in today's monitor include:

  • Fire and Rescue Services in England attended 562,000 incidents (down 10 per cent on 2007-08). Of these, 249,000 were fires (15 per cent down on 2007-08).
  • In England there were 333 fire deaths (6 per cent lower than in 2007-08), of which 217 were accidental dwelling fire deaths (1 per cent lower than in 2007-08). This is less than half the number of deaths in every year throughout the 1980s.
  • Primary fires in England were down 10 per cent to 104,000. Within this, dwelling fires fell by 7 per cent to 39,000 and fires in other buildings were down by 10 per cent to 22,000. Road vehicle fires fell by 12 per cent to 36,000.
  • Secondary fires in England were 21 per cent lower at 137,000.
  • In England, attendances at false alarms decreased by 6 per cent to 313,000. Within this there was a 21 per cent fall (to 17,000) in malicious false alarms and a 4 per cent fall (to 207,000) in false alarms due to apparatus.

The Fire Statistics Monitor is available on the Communities and Local Government website. Also on the website is the latest annual statistical bulletin, Fire Statistics United Kingdom, 2007, which contains trends and analysis for the years 1997-2007.

Notes to editors

1. The figures in the quarterly 'Fire Statistics Monitor' publication are compiled from reports submitted to Communities and Local Government on fires and false fire alarms attended by the fire and rescue service throughout the UK.

2. Detailed information is collected on all fires in buildings, vehicles and outdoor structures and any fires involving casualties or rescues (i.e."primary”"fires). Less detailed aggregated information is collected on “secondary” and chimney fires; so subsequent analysis of them is limited.

3. "Primary" fires include all fires in buildings, vehicles and outdoor structures or any fire involving casualties, rescues, or fires attended by five or more appliances.  "Secondary" fires are the majority of outdoor fires including grassland and refuse fires unless they involve casualties or rescues, property loss or five or more appliances attend.  They include fires in single derelict buildings. Chimney fires are any fires in occupied buildings where the fire was confined within the chimney structure (and did not involve casualties or rescues or attendance by five or more appliances).

4. A person whose death is attributed to a fire is counted as a fatality even if death occurred weeks or months later.  However, it is not always the case that fire was the cause of death. The latest figures for fatalities are provisional and subject to revision as information supplied by the fire and rescue service needs to be cross-checked against the cause of death that appears on the death certificate. The main area of uncertainty is whether fire was the cause of death in road accident fatalities.

5. Fire Statistics are part of the National Statistics series which are produced to high professional standards, as prescribed by the UK Statistics Authority.  For more information see

6. To date there has been a lag from the time a fire incident occurred to publishing finalised fire statistics. This was due to data being submitted by Fire and Rescue Services through a paper-based system. Quarterly Monitors were introduced to reduce this lag by providing users with more up to date but provisional data.

7. A new method of collecting this information was introduced from October 2007 with data being collected electronically using the Incident Recording System (IRS). As of April 2009, all Fire and Rescue Services are recording incident details using this new system. The constraints on analysis of secondary fire data will be reduced, and outputs, including this publication, will be available more quickly.


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