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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

15th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Tuesday 9th June 2005 at 11:00 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, ODPM

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mrs. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. M. Coull

Historic Scotland

Mr. M. Robinson


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. M. Rowan


Mr. S. Kidd


Mr. A. McCormack


1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2 Apologies

Ms. K. Helm


Mr. B. Tregunna


Mr. N. Bason


Ms. C. Reynolds


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting - 1st March 2005.

3.1 There were a few minor corrections to the Minutes.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 The FRSUG website had been caught up in the changes to the ODPM fire pages. It was hoped progress would be confirmed by the next meeting. Sheila Pantry confirmed she would draft a press release for a submission to the fire minister for a press release announcing the launch of the site when it takes place.

4.2 So far, the Statistics User Groups meetings had concentrated on the mechanics of approaching government about the consistency and availability of statistics - as well as the burden of producing returns. It was felt that a real opportunity existed to use the Statistics User Group to develop links with other groups which may have useful information. These would include the Health Statistics and Transport Statistics User Groups. Other links could be identified as more is learnt about the other groups.

ACTION Secretary to attend next SUG meeting and raise the possibility of links.

ACTION Secretary to forward the Statistics User group website link to the group.

4.3 Tom Wilmot had raised at the last meeting the recent Scottish Fire Service reform consultation paper included a proposal that the protection of property (as well as life) should be a Scottish Executive responsibility. He had hoped this would be extended to England and Wales. It appears that while the 1947 Act had the minimisation of property loss as a main aim, the targets now are life safety only. He felt that an overall reduction in fire cost - in terms of lives, property and the environment, should be the correct aim. A group had been set up to look at this, the World Fire Strategy Group, chaired by George Miller.

4.3.1 It was pointed out that Building Regulations (for England and Wales) are solely aimed at life-safety, and cannot be used for the justification of property protection.

4.3.2 As was pointed out by several members of the group, an improved approach to prevention of fire, and minimising fire spread (and hence property loss) was also going to lead to a reduction in fire casualties and minimise environmental damage and any potential loss of heritage.

4.3.3 Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake agreed a regulatory impact assessment such as were being carried out for the RRO should include the cost of fire in its totality. These impact assessments would be more accurate if there was better access to good-quality data on the subject. He felt the FRSUG had a role here in pointing people to this data.

4.3.4 Professor Everton outlined the position in fire law in England and Wales. As mentioned earlier, building regulations were concerned with life risk only. There were other factors that may affect current and future approaches to fire safety. These included the Safe and Secure Buildings and Community paper 2004/5, the Fire RRO, the exact impact of which is still uncertain, and the effects of local legislation (local acts or the different approaches in devolved administrations).

5 Fires of Special Interest (FOSI) and Recording of Attacks on Firefighters

5.1 This point was originally raised by the FBU Executive, who were concerned that the number of attacks on firefighters was not being monitored, and therefore the scale of the problem was being underestimated. The FBU had funded a study on this problem. The report can be found at:

The report, carried out by the Labour Research Department highlighted the different standards taken by each F&RS in recording this data, and the problems in getting firefighters to report incidents, both from a cultural perspective, and in not knowing the system for reporting these incidents. The report had shown a significant difference between different areas, and between the F&RS figures and official ODPM figures.

5.2 The FBU had some issues with the system for recording attacks on firefighters that was in use. They should be recorded as Fires of Special Interest (FOSIs), but was not widely known through the F&RS's, and did involve extra form filling. The numbers were also not then instantly visible on the F&RS databases. The publicity of the system using the Fire Service Circular system rather than the previous Dear Chief Officer Letters, was not as well understood in brigade.

5.2.1 Dick Pearson ended by saying that if the FOSI system (if improved) was not the best way for collecting this data, what was the best system.

5.3 Mick Robertson gave the HMFSI view. Fires of Special Interest (FOSIs) are used to provide for additional investigation of significant incidents, such as fires with loss of life, significantly faster fire spread than expected, firefighter injury or operational difficulties. Since data was not always provided, they had undertaken to specifically ask each F&RS on a monthly basis for information on attacks on firefighters. It was expected this, and other ways of raising the profile of the problem, would correct the variability in reporting. Data had been collected systematically from April 2004 using this system and was being stored on a database for easy retrieval and analysis.

5.3.1 It was agreed that increased publicity would increase the consistency and frequency of reporting. However, Dick Pearson felt that the best way of capturing this data was to record it in the immediate incident report forms (i.e. the replacement FDR1 form).

5.3.2 Mike Coull was able to confirm that in Scotland injuries from this kind of attack would be recorded in the Health and Safety returns to the Scottish Executive, and that achieving good returns had required a significant educational effort.

5.3.3 Mitchell Rowan felt looking at London's figures that they were under-reporting to ODPM, and that a certain degree of "going with the job" culture relating to these incidents meant that unless they were more severe, they were not reported. He was also able to confirm that there was some analysis underway in some F&RS's to look at the circumstances and possible causes of attacks, which seemed to have started in the mid 80's.

5.4.4 Dick Pearson was able to confirm this had been included in their response to the electronic data capture consultation paper.

5.4 The chair summed up the discussion.

  1. ODPM needed to look at issues with Fire Service Circulars, making sure all stakeholders see them.
  2. FBU should circulate its members to encourage reporting using the current system.
  3. If possible, a method for capturing these incidents should go on the new electronic reporting system.

6 Presentation of Work of the National Community Fire Safety Centre

6.1 Ian Evans gave a review of the NSPCC work in the field of fire safety. One of their main thrusts is to work with other bodies to ensure that campaigns can be backed up and achieve maximum effect. These organisations include insurance companies, Help the Aged and other charities, and obviously F&RS. They have found that at a local level there is a lot of interest in the media which makes it easier to get across positive fire safety messages.

6.2 Some of the discussion was on the issues of furniture safety and fire-safe cigarettes. The Department of Health has reservations over these, while DTI and ODPM were more inclined towards them as a good idea.

6.2.1 There was also DTI interest in safer lighters and matches, as well as continuing interest in the furniture regulations ensuring fire safe foam, showing other examples of cross0departmental working. Tony Paish wondered if something similar could be applied to other sources of fire in the home such as videos and chip pans. Chip pan safety campaigns have been carried out, and they are still a significant cause of injuries in the home.

6.3 The chair thanked Ian for his presentation.

7 Presentation on E-Fire and E-Transformation

7.1 Ivan Deith gave a presentation on E-Fire. He is seconded to ODPM from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. The key part of his presentation was to emphasis that as well as improving electronic communication between ODPM and the F&RS, there was a significant opportunity to in improving communication with the public about fire safety and fire issues in general. It should also enable better communication with other arms of government such as the HSE.

7.1.1 Electronic service delivery involves other methods of communication such as interactive TV and mobile phones.

7.1.2 The project also includes aspects of the Virtual Research Academy, as well as the capture of data electronically for the new incident report form. Indeed, any aspect of communication to or from the Fire service that can be effectively done by these means should be considered.

7.1.3 In order to take advantage of these opportunities, there would be considerable investment in the facilities available to F&RS staff to make better use of electronic delivery at station level.

7.2 Ivan was thanked for a very interesting presentation.

8 FDR1 Update

8.1 Lynsey Avery updated the group on the electronic collection of incident data. A consultation paper had been published in July and a contract for pilot study was being let shortly.

9 Secretary's Report

9.1 The secretary hoped to have positive information on the FRSUG website at the next meeting.

9.2 FRSUG had been invited to submit a poster to the Fire Service College Research Event this year, and a preliminary design would be available at the next meeting for members to comment on.

ACTION Secretary

10 Any other Business

10.1 Sheila Pantry confirmed the Fire Information Group was also presenting a poster, and Professor Everton would be presenting a paper.

10.2 FIG were arranging a visit to the HSE research site at Buxton in September and if any of the group are interested they would get further details shortly.

11 Date of Next Meeting

September 6th, 10:30 am Allington Towers, Floor 5