Skip to content

Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

5th Meeting of the
Fire Statistics User Group
12th November at 10:30
Ashdown House Meeting Room 8A

Present :

Mr. G. Evans


Mr. J. Golt

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

Mr. G. Holden


Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. A. Henderson

Scottish Executive (HMFSI Scotland)

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. S. Deaton

Fire Statistics and Research Group, ODPM

Mr. I. Jerome

Fire Protection Association

Mr. C. Hill

London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority

Mr. S. Kidd

Fire Industry Confederation

Mr. B. Tucker

Fire Service College

Mr. A. McCormack

Fire Research Division (Group Secretary)

1 Chair's Introduction

1.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the 5th Meeting of the Fire Statistics user Group, including Craig Hill, who is the new representative of LFEPA, and Jim Golt, who was presenting on the REALFIRE database.

2. Apologies.

Apologies for absence were received from :

Mr. D. Hobbs


Mr. A. Thorne


Mr M. Eady


Ms L. Watson


Mr M. Reed


Mr. S. Birt


Mr. G. Lipscombe

Assoc. of Building Engineers

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. I. Evans


Dr. D. Peace


Ms. C. Reynolds


Mr. M Fordham


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting

3.1 The minutes were agreed with the following amendments.

Mr. Eady's title was corrected to AFI, not HMI.

b) In paragraph 6.4 Mr Paish's comment was corrected to "Mr. Paish added that information should also be gathered on flood and collapse risks that receive more political attention and hence may help with funding."

3A Presentation on Realfire Database by Commander Jim Golt of LFEPA

This presentation was an additional agenda item which the Chair agreed should be placed into the Agenda as item 3A.

Jim Golt is now a member of the Fire Engineering Group in LFEPA, but was previously part of the Fire Investigation Group that compiles and updates the realfire database. This is a library of over 28000 fires including over 500 fatal events. In particular it contains coroner's data of fire deaths, information on fire spread and data on significant (not necessarily large) fires and relates to census data. It is hoped to make the database searchable on-line, but at present access is via the researchers. Summaries of papers published using the data are available on the web site.

Several projects are continuing, including work with AMDEA (white goods manufacturers' association) who help study fires involving appliances, and a study of domestic sprinklers, as well as using the real data to compare and test fire-spread models.

After several questions about the database and the scenarios shown, Jim was thanked for an excellent presentation by the Chair. The Chair also said to Jim that he intended to recommend to the Chair of the Fire Safety Advisory Board, Pamela Castle, that she invite Jim to make a similar presentation to a future meeting of the Board.

Action Chair.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes

4.1 Report from Lorraine Watson (ODPM)

There was an outstanding action on Lorraine Watson regarding the collection and collation of FDR1 data. Part of this was dealt with in the collection of fire statistics sources. Unfortunately, Lorraine Watson was unwell and could not attend the meeting. Mr S. Deaton attempted to assist the Group with the issue. Mr Deaton said the FDR1 was to be reviewed. The Chair asked if the Fire Statistics User Group could be made aware of the timetable and scope of the proposed review so they could both contribute to it and be involved with it. Mr Deaton agreed that the Group should be party to the review of the FDR1.

Action: Ms L. Watson and Mr S. Deaton to advise the group of the timetable and scope of the FDR1 review as soon as it is known.

4.2 Report from AFI Mick Eady.

4.2.1 There were outstanding issues for Mr. Eady that was originally actioned to HMI. D. Berry before his illness. Due to other pressing fire service issues Mick Eady could not attend the meeting. He did however, supply the Group Secretary with a written report. The report outlined the following.

4.2.2 The FDR1 form does not include the time of arrival of any appliance after the first on scene. The information would be useful for showing the increased effectiveness of extra appliances in terms of damage limitation and life-saving capability. While the usefulness of the information is not disputed, the FDR1 form could become more complicated as a result. Mr. McCormack added that the information on full response was available from some brigades from their control room data, but this could only be provided with significant effort from the brigades concerned. It is being used as part of the fire cover review.

4.2.3 Mr. Eady's report contained a short section on the data available on the effectiveness of active and passive protection measures such as detection systems. It outlined a possible future research strategy for comparing different measures, but suggested there was no suitable information existing at present.

4.2.4 The third item was a request to look at fire investigation. At present, AFI Jones informs him there is no real data that can be imparted to the Fire Statistics User Group.

4.2.5 The Chair summed up the problems revealed by this report. If data is required for one-off studies, it may be best to retrieve data from the fire service itself or the Inspectorate. However, while brigades may have the relevant data, they are not required to keep it, and it may be held in different forms. The task of the Group is to guide people to the relevant data. It was felt that the investigation of fires of special interest was relevant to the Group, and more information would be helpful. Tasks 4.2.1 and 4.2.2 were considered closed. This last issue was dealt with further in task referral (section 7).

4.3 Report from Stewart Kidd on Protection of Cultural Heritage

4.3.1 Mr S. Kidd reported on the problems of preserving sites of (or containing) important aspects of cultural heritage. One of the major problems is that there are few reliable statistics available on the scale of the problem. Many countries do not record fire information nationally, and even in the U.K. and Sweden, which have the best records, the use of the building is recorded, but not its listed status.

4.3.2 Historic Scotland - in collaboration with CACFOA (Scotland) - has funded a database in the Grampian and Strathclyde regions to provide information on CD-ROM to fire brigades tackling fires on heritage sites. The EU's COST programme includes the collection of data on the risk to heritage sites. English Heritage has begun a similar project to Historic Scotland, being piloted in a small number of brigades in England and Wales.

4.3.3 In order to collect better information (at present it appears that there is a serious fire in a grade I or II* building every month in Scotland alone), it is suggested a box in the FDR1 form relating to listed buildings is included.

4.3.4 The full report is attached.

4.3.5 It was accepted that the Historic Scotland project in conjunction with the Grampian and Strathclyde regions was an excellent project, and should be adopted nationally, with the problem being one of resources.

Action: The Chair of the Fire Statistics User Group should write to the Chair of the Fire Safety Advisory Board, urging the Board recommend that this work to be funded by the ODPM.

Action: The Chair to forward this report to the European Sub-Group of the FSAB, so that this issue can also be raised in a European context.

Action: The Group should address the problem of historic building data collection (especially empty buildings) during the review of FDR1 data.

5 Chair's Report to the Fire Safety Advisory Board

5.1 This was accepted subject to the correction of a small number of typographical errors.

6 Levels of Fire Safety Resources

6.1 This was a Paper that had been sent to the Group for their consideration following the fourth meeting of the Chair's Group of the Fire Safety Advisory Board. It had been delayed in being presented to the Group because of the absence of HMI Dave Berry on sick leave. The Chair explained the background to it and then opened the issue up for discussion.

6.2 It was accepted by the Group that there is a fire safety enforcement role already undertaken by fire service personnel, which is likely to become more significant as a result of the introduction of the proposed Regulatory Reform Act fire safety order. The Group was asked to consider whether the number of officers involved in fire safety enforcement had declined (and could this be determined) and was the number of officers currently in post likely to be appropriate to the new system. It was reported that HMFSI and HMFSI Scotland (confirmed by Mr. Henderson) do collect data that could be used for this process.

6.3 There was some discussion about how the Group might determine the fire safety resource problems that the new order may present, not least as its final wording is not yet known, and therefore it's potential resource requirements are not yet clear. Mr G. Holden commented that good guidance would be required for those involved, and Mr. Tucker added that enforcement levels might vary between brigades.

6.4 The Chair said that enforcement activity will need to be robust to maintain public confidence that the new system is as effective as the previous system, and that the amount and type of enforcement activity and resource allocation by brigades would need to be measured and recorded, which is work that the Fire Statistics User Group should be involved with.

Action: The Group Secretary to write to AFI Eady/ HMI Berry to establish who holds the data relating to this issue referred to in sub paragraph 6.2 above and to collect it for analysis by the next meeting.

7 Task Referral from the 7th Meeting of the Fire Safety Advisory Board

7.1 The main concern of the Group was fires of special interest. The system for reporting these does exist, but is not used often. It was felt the power to carry out investigations was very important. While it was accepted this work had been overtaken by industrial action related work and the New Dimensions, the Group felt that it needed to be informed better on this issue as a matter or urgency.

Action: Secretariat to ask the Inspectorate (AFI Eady or another) to present on this at the next meeting. (If statistics relating to investigations are not available, a report on the mechanisms and scope of investigations of fires of special interest would be of considerable interest and usefulness).

8 Fire Statistics - Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings

8.1 Mr. Emery reported that English Heritage had made good progress getting the required information assembled for the pilot brigades and it was currently being transferred onto CD-ROM for use in the pilot brigades. It was also intended to make the data available on the internet, but as yet this was incomplete. The Chair asked that the Group be kept up to date with this project.

9 Forthcoming Events

9.1 Mr B. Tucker circulated the programme for the Fire Research Event at the Fire Service College on the 20th and 21st November.

9.2 Ms S. Pantry reported that the EC was launching a new initiative on challenges in the workplace, with a conference in November 2003. It would be an excellent opportunity to promote fire safety by getting it on the agenda.

Action: Ms. S. Pantry to send details to the secretariat to circulate.

9.3 The next issue of Fire Prevention will include a section on large loss analysis compiled by Ian Jerome.

9.4 Mr. Paish reported that the World Fire Statistic's Centre new bulletin was available, and he would send this to the secretariat to circulate to the group, along with details of subscribing to the bulletin regularly.

10 Any Other Business

There was none so the Chair closed the meeting.

11. Dates of Next Meetings.

The 6th and 7th meetings of the Fire Statistics User Group would be held on;

Tuesday, 28th January at 10:30 a.m. Eland House (Ground floor D/E)

Tuesday 29th April at 10.30 a.m. Eland House (Ground floor J)