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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

6th Meeting of the
Fire Statistics User Group
28th January at 12:30
Eland House Meeting Room GD

Present :

Mr. G. Evans


Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire statistics Centre

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Ms C. Reynolds

Fire Research Division, ODPM

Mr. S. Robbins

Fire Research Division, ODPM

Mr. M Eady


Mr. S. Birt

Association of British Insurers

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. J. Gamble

Fire Statistics and Research Branch, Fire Policy Division, ODPM

Ms H. Jones

Fire Statistics and Research Branch, Fire Policy Division, ODPM

Ms L. Watson

Fire Statistics and Research Branch, Fire Policy Division, ODPM

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 Group members to the 6th meeting of the Fire Statistics User Group. He explained that there was to be a presentation from the Fire Statistics and Research Branch of the ODPM regarding their proposals for a review of the Fire Damage Report Form (FDR 1). He said that he intended that the Report should be taken first after the receipt of any apologies for non- attendance from Group members. He then welcomed Heidi Jones and Jon Gamble from Garston, the other site of the Fire Statistics and Research Branch.

2 Apologies

Mr A. Henderson

HMFSI (Scotland)

Mr. I. Jerome

Fire Protection Association

Mr. D. Hobbs

Building Regulations (ODPM)

Mr. A. Burd

Building Regulations (ODPM)

Dr. D. Peace

Fire Research Division (ODPM)

Mr. G. Holden


Mr. C. Hill


Mr. M. Fordham


3 Presentation on Proposals for a Review of the Collection of FDR1 Data

3.1 The Chair asked Lorraine Watson of the Fire Statistics and Research Branch to introduce her team and then too commence the presentation. The slides of the presentation are attached.

3.2 The presentation was welcomed by the Chair and stimulated much discussion. The data collected and the method of data collection for the FDR 1 system are both to be reviewed with the aim of moving towards more electronic data collection (as piloted in some brigades). This would in addition allow for faster data collection and processing, which could aid analysis of fire safety initiatives and similar projects.

3.3 A point of particular interest was the chance to add new questions to the current data collected such as an estimate of the cost of the fire. At present the actual cost of fire is not known (although a model of the cost of fire based on life loss, property loss and environmental damage is used by the ODPM). Mr. Wilmot remarked that this data is available in Canada and New Zealand. Several other points about the need for linking cost of fire to insurance data were raised.

3.4 In addition, Mr. S. Kidd raised a query about amalgamating data from different building types. Ms Watson and Mr. Gamble replied that although the data published amalgamated some data, the individual building types were still recorded separately and this data was available on request. The data on churches was sent to Mr. S. Kidd and is also attached.

3.5 The possibility of linking FDR1 data to fire-investigation databases like REALFIRE was raised by Ms S. Pantry. In addition, the point was made by AIFS Eady and Mr. Tucker that in order to change any legislation or to carry out accurate risk assessments data is required and the FDR1 form was the main source of data available. It was necessary that this data was accurate and covered a range of issues.

3.6 The project will continue with a consultant appointed to consider all input from stakeholders before any changes are made. The Chair welcomed the fact that the members of the Fire Statistics User Group would be given the opportunity to contribute to the review process. He thanked the members of the Fire Statistics and Research Branch for their presentation.

4 Minutes of the Previous Meeting

4.1 Subject to the amendment of point 9.4 from "subscribing to the bulletin" to be replaced with "registering to receive the bulletin" the Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted as a true record by the members of the Group present.

5 Matters Arising From Previous Minutes

5.1 Mr. S. Kidd informed the group that an EU working group to study the loss of cultural heritage to fire has been set up, and met in December. He is chairing this working group, with the next meeting in Rome in April at the Fire College there. The Chair added that a request for the ODPM to press the EU to formally fund this work would go before the March meeting of the Fire Safety Advisory Board.

6 Levels of Fire Safety Resources.

6.1 Mr A. McCormack confirmed that data to measure the safety enforcement work carried out by brigades was available and held by Mr. Ken Watkins of HMFSI and by the Scottish Executive. Some examples of this data were shown.

Action : Mr. McCormack to produce a formal report of the time spent by brigades on fire certification and inspection for the next meeting to forward afterwards to the FSAB.

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

7.1 AIFS Eady gave a report on the progress by Her Majesty's Fire Service Inspectorate in developing guidance to fire authorities on recording data on fires of special interest. The criteria for calling for a special investigation of such fires is being reviewed and the new guidelines are to be issued in a Dear Chief Fire Officer Letter shortly.

7.2 The criteria for such an investigation are likely to be where there is:-

  • a fatality or 3 injuries,
  • significant impact on the general public,
  • very fast flame spread,
  • impact on active or passive fire precautions,
  • significant operational difficulties while fighting the fire.

7.3 AIFS Eady confirmed there were several such investigations currently ongoing. Previously the criteria included more than 10 fire-fighting jets being employed, 5 deaths or serious injuries, or a failure under the Fire Precautions Act. The Chair asked whether these new triggers for calling an investigation would cause a rise in the number of investigations and whether there are enough trained investigating staff currently available within brigades. He also asked if the Group, or the FSAB, would have an opportunity to comment on the guidance before it was sent out to brigades.

7.4 It was agreed that AIFS Eady would submit a report to the Fire Safety Advisory Board on the matter.

Action : AFI Eady was asked to submit a formal report for the Fire Safety Advisory Board on this matter.

8 Forthcoming Events.

8.1 None reported.

9 Any Other Business

9.1 Ms S. Pantry had prepared a draft Report on the difficulty of retrieving information on fires and fire safety due to the lack of resource of some of the areas of expertise. There was a dual problem in that both a lack of funding and a lack of direction from the centre were partly responsible for data being lost. This Report will be a main agenda item for the next meeting.

Action : Secretary to add to the next Agenda and forward Ms Pantry the list of data sources collected by the Fire Statistics User Group working party.

9.2 The Chair said that he had received a telephone call from Mr. I. Jerome of the FPA who was unable to attend the meeting, but had said that he had some data on French fires that he would circulate electronically around the Group members.

Action : Mr I. Jerome.

9.3 Mr. S. Kidd had also collected some data on fire extinguisher operations that was also for circulation around the group.

Action : Mr. Kidd and Secretary.

9.4 Mr. A. Paish asked about two cost of fire reports mentioned in the Jan 2003 edition of the Fire magazine (one published by ODPM, the other published by the FBU). The Chair and Ms. Watson undertook to pass on these reports via the Secretary.

Action : Ms Watson and Chair to provide these for circulation.

9.5 Mr I. Evans drew attention to the publication of the Report of the Accidental Injury Task force (Department of Health) available to download at It includes information on best practice in accident reduction from fire brigades and other bodies.

9.6 Mr. S. Kidd expressed concern that as a result of the recommendations of the Bain review into the fire service there was a possibility that the Fire Safety Advisory Board might disappear as the result of any removal of the existing CFBAC structure. He urged all non-government members of the Group to write a letter of support to the FSAB. Other non-government members also expressed their concern over this issue.

9.7 The Chair said that he would not embarrass the government members present by seeking their views upon the matter, but he felt that concerns of the non government members should be passed in writing to the Chair of the Fire Safety Advisory Board by himself, so that she was aware of them. This proposal received the unanimous support of the non-government members of the Group present at the meeting and the Chair undertook to take process the matter.

NB. In accordance with paragraph 9.7 above an Email message was sent by the Chair of the Group to the Chair of the Fire Safety Advisory Board, Pamela Castle, on the 30th January 2003. A copy of the message is attached to these unconfirmed Minutes for the information of members.

10 Date of Next Meeting.

10.1 The next meeting of the Fire Statistics User Group is at 10:30 a.m. in Eland House on Tuesday, 29th of April.