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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

11th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Wednesday 5th May 2004 at 10:30 am
Eland House


Mr. G. Evans

Chair, FBU

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. D. Champion

Fire Statistics and Research Division, FRSD, ODPM

Dr. C. MacGill

Fire Statistics Research Division, FRSD, ODPM

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. N. Bason

Association of British Insurers

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mr. M. Rowan


Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Buildings Division

Ms. C. Reynolds


Mr. A. McCormack

Secretary, FSRD, FRSD, ODPM

1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially new group member Nick Bason, from the ABI.

2 Apologies

Dr. D. Peace


Mr A. Burd

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr. B. Tucker

Fire Service College

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. D. Hobbs

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr M. Eady


Mr. D. Pearson


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting

3.1 In the second paragraph of section 3.1 the sentence should read "Judy had managed to retrieve a great deal of it".

3.2 In section 6, the second sentence should read "This was directly related to point d (see section 8)".

3.3 In section 8 point d should read "a continuing reliable estimate of the annual cost of fire including property loss within the UK".

3.4 In section 9.2 at the end of the first sentence the phrase "to speak to them" should be removed.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 The Cost of Fire sub-group monitored and updated when required the cost of fire model. The Sub Group economist Scott Dennison had moved to a new challenge. He had been replaced by Sophie Cruikshank. This Group had been resting for a time, but it was felt that it needed to be revived.

4.1.1 David Champion remarked that the annual update of the model is due soon.

4.1.2 Cath Reynolds undertook to raise this issue with the relevant Branch Head to find out the current situation.

ACTION Cath Reynolds to raise this with Branch Head in FSED.

4.1.3 Steve Emery asked for a contact within the Cost of Fire Sub Group to be put in contact with the Finnish equivalent of English Heritage, who under the Cost C17 action is doing a study of the cost of heritage fires across Europe.

4.2 Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake reported that a working party had been set up to review Approved Document B (the Building Regulations guidance document for fire safety) and a consultation process was currently underway, with three public workshops being arranged to gather comments. These were already fully subscribed. A website had been set up and suggestions could be made through this at:

4.2.1 It was intended that a consultation document incorporating these views and the views of the core stakeholders would be produced in early 2005. Consultation would finish at the beginning of July.

4.3 David Champion reported that he had continued talking to the Department's Directorate of Communications (DOC), and had received preliminary agreement to host a website at

4.3.1 This was welcomed by the Chair, who asked if this could be publicised by a ministerial announcement.

ACTION David Champion to draft a ministerial submission on this subject.

4.4 David Champion also reported that there had been four meetings of the FDR1 review team, with other meetings being considered depending on the outcome of the BVPI review meetings. It was likely that the new dataset would include all incidents including false alarms, special services incidents, fires involving no property or life loss (FDR3 fires) as well as the property or life loss fires (the original FDR1). The proposed information to be collected is being summarised and then scoped for the IT stage. It is intended most data collection will be web based, with a helpline available to help record incidents quickly.

4.4.1 Steve Emery asked if the data collected would include specific mention of heritage sites, and this is still in the list of data to be collected.

4.4.2 David Champion concluded by saying that following the last meeting the list of information to be collected will go out to consultation again briefly. This was expected to be in June. F&RSUG would be on the list of consultees.

4.5 The work on pulling together the measured (and unmeasured) fire data list had not been completed due to the pressures of the FSEC roll out. This would be completed before the next meeting and reported then.

ACTION Secretary.

5. Considerations of Future Work for the Group

5.1 It was agreed by the Group that the website would have a crucial role in providing a way of publicising the work of the Group and a place where the Group's output could be made available. It was agreed that it would be a permanent Agenda Item and a small team would be set up to arrange frequent updates to the site.

5.2 The next item discussed was a study of the effectiveness of portable fire extinguishers in buildings, i.e. how often they were used and how effective they were in limiting fire growth and fire damage. The Chair felt that this could best be attempted by FETA - the Fire Extinguisher Trade Association and the Fire Industry Confederation. In addition, some data can be taken from the FDR1 statistics.

ACTION Chair to liaise with FETA to arrange a study

ACTION Secretary to do preliminary study on FDR1 data

5.2.1 It was acknowledged that since the fire service only attends approximately 1 in 5 fires (according to the British Crime Survey, although this is aimed more at dwellings). Data on smoke detector usefulness is similarly partly hidden by FDR1 statistics and the British Crime Survey. David Champion reported that in future, smoke detector ownership data will be collected in England via the English Housing Condition Survey.

5.3 A Seminar to raise awareness of the Group, its work and fire statistics in general was suggested by several members. A key to success for a seminar would be effective publicity to make sure relevant people were aware of it.. It was suggested that it may be possible to arrange a series of talks as part of or as an adjunct to the Fire Research Event at the College in November.

ACTION: Chair to approach Anne Eyre (the coordinator of the Research Event) about this.

5.3.1 Tom Wilmot pointed out that as well as collecting data, it was even more important to communicate the analysis to relevant parts of government and the fire community. The Chair thought the main benefits of a seminar for the group would be to raise awareness of the group in the fire community and to move the Group's work up the agenda. He explained that our customers are: the fire services, the fire industry, the wider world that is concerned with fire safety and loss prevention.

5.3.2 Steve Emery recommended the Cost C17 Euro Heritage initiative as a possible co-host of the seminars. Another possibility was the All Party Fire Safety Group.

5.3.3 A sub-committee was appointed to look at the possible presentations the group could give. This would consist of Sheila Pantry, Steve Emery, Cath Reynolds and Tom Wilmot.

ACTION: Secretary to arrange for the sub committee to meet / communicate to arrange possible subjects and speakers.

5.4 It was agreed that the cost of fire in the UK could best be addressed by keeping the Cost of Fire sub-group going, either as a sub committee of this Group or as an independent unit.

5.5 Steve Emery reported he was in a position to do a pilot study on fires affecting Heritage sites and this would be based on data from one brigade using the FSEC geo-coded data for the last three years and the heritage building database that English Heritage maintain. If this proved successful the study could be extended providing other brigades would make data available.

5.6 The measurement of direct property loss from fires is done by loss adjusters in some countries or states (NSW Australia for example) or by data from insurers and the fire service (Canada). Tony Paish asked if similar data would be available in the UK.

5.6.1 Cath Reynolds explained that an estimate of property loss was generated by FSEC based on the size of the fire and data from the ABI. This was being fine-tuned with the FPA.

5.6.2 Tom Wilmot remarked that since the UK government has no responsibility for property loss from fires it was necessary to create more interest in this subject that would be translated in to Government interest and action.

5.7 Tony Paish raised an article in the Sunday Times of March 21st outlining the results of a study of 12000 people exposed to the dust cloud from the World Trade Centre fires. Nearly 50% reported some long-term damage to their health. The US Congress was funding for long term health screening for these people. He was aware that the NFPA estimate of casualties from that incident was far lower than this, suggesting that they were not recorded as fire injuries. As well as this incident, he felt that chronic injuries resulting from fire may not be being taken into account, and only acute injuries were recorded.

5.7.1 David Champion said that specific research projects were normally the way to proceed for single events, and that deaths resulting from fire-related injuries would be recorded as such even if the death occurred several months later. Chronic injuries would not be specifically recorded outside of the FDR1 injury categorisations.

5.7.2 The Chair felt that Health Service statistics may provide a route to measure acute injuries, but it is unlikely they measure chronic injuries in a way that fire can be identified as the cause. For firefighters, the data would be placed in the employer's medical records, but these may not be made available for study. There is a Best Value Performance Indicator relating to retirements on health grounds.

5.8 The Chair reported that the Practitioners Forum had created a joint Task and Finish Risk Data Group with the Business and Community Safety Forum, which he had found about by accident. He had written to the Chair of the Practitioners Forum expressing his concern over the creation of this Group as the work it was undertaking was exactly that which the F&RSUG had been created for. Subsequently, he has been invited to sit upon the Group. He would keep F&RSUG members updated on their progress.

5.9 The Chair asked that the Group were given notice of any government release of fire statistics. He was informed the next release was due on the 13th May.

ACTION David Champion to inform group (via secretary or directly) of future releases of fire statistics

6 Any Other Business

6.1 (a) The Statistics Commission had published a report on economic statistics, the link for which would be sent to the Group, and

(b) Christine MacGill reported that Ian Evans had attended seminars by the Child Accident Prevention Trust which had included data on Fire and Accident Statistics. Interested parties should contact Ian for details.

7 Date of Next Meeting

7.1 The next meeting will take place on Tuesday 24th August at 10:30 am in Eland House Room G/J.