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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

16th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Tuesday 6 September 2005 at 10:30 am
Allington House, Victoria


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 I. Gough


Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr. M. Coull

Historic Scotland

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. M. Robinson


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. M. Rowan


Mr. A. McCormack


1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2 Apologies

Ms. K. Helm


Mr. N. Bason


Mr. B. Tregunna


Ms. C. Reynolds


Mrs. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mr. S. Kidd


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting - 9th June 2005.

3.1 There were a few minor corrections to the Minutes.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 The chair gave an update on the approach to Fires of Special Interest. As a result of the issue being raised at the Practitioners Forum it had been agreed that a joint Task and Finish Group (with the Business and Community Fire Safety Forum) be formed including members with experience of attacks on NHS staff.

4.2 HMI Robinson gave an update on the planned future of HMFSI. In England and Wales the Audit Commission now performs inspections, with HMFSI providing professional advice and assurance. It is planned that the Inspectorate as such will be replaced with a professional advisors team in the next two years, the precise make up of this body still be decided.

4.3 The Chair had attended the Business and Community Safety Forum. Where the misuse of fireworks had been discussed. As expected, a peak in these incidents occurred in October/November. Ways of reducing these incidents were discussed.

4.4 Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake commented on the opportunities provided by the Statistics User Forum, particularly the chance to improve links with other groups and explore ways of data-sharing (e.g. Health Statistics).

4.5 Tom Wilmot commented on the issue raised about the possibility in Scotland of making the minimisation of property loss from fire a duty. He remarked that in 1947 when insurers helped found the Fire Research Station there was a significant amount of profit made on fire insurance, which is no longer the case, and hence little investment, and a lower profile for prevention. He hoped similar duty would be applied in England and Wales, but saw no plans for this at present.

4.5.1 It had been shown in FSEC and some work by the Welsh Assembly that as fast response to fire would limit both property and human loss from fire, and that mitigating one was likely to mitigate the other, although IRMP's tended to concentrate on prevention of loss of life. It was felt that input from the ABI and FPA would help the debate on property losses.

4.6 Tony Paish raised a problem with getting comparable statistics from the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly as well as UK wide. It was possible for bodies to measure and report different aspects of an issue depending on local priorities. The Secretary confirmed that the challenges of devolution to those requiring UK-wide or GB-wide statistics has been with the Royal Statistical Society and the Statistics User Council, who were awaiting a response from the Treasury.

5 FDR1 Update and Planned Publications from the Fire Statistics Branch of FSRD

5.1 Lyndsey Avery updated the group on he electronic collections of incident data. A data definition group meeting in September would meet to discuss the results of the consultation exercise referred to in he last meeting. (The issue of including attacks on firefighters in the new FDR1 form would be discussed at the data definition group) The Fire and Rescue Statistics would still be UK-wide, and published and checked centrally. An XML schema was being prepared that would allow for data capture and a tender for the implementation of the scheme would go out to suppliers shortly. It was hoped to go live with a pilot set of Fire and Rescue Services in 2006 and to rollout the system afterwards.

5.2 FRS Newsletter no. 14 would be published in October, and the next quarterly statistics monitor would be published in October, and include analysis up to March 2005. The data for 2004/05 was still provisional (it was possible that the fire deaths number could change very slightly).

5.3 The Survey of English Housing would contain some fire information with a similar set of data to the British Crime Survey, and was to be published in November. The Statistics Branch was also gathering data for neighbourhood statistics, with ONS having been provided calendar year data 2002 and planning to look at 2003/04.

5.4 Ian Evans reported that the NCFSC would be looking at targeting specific groups with tailored fire campaigns.

5.5 Dick Pearson asked about information on Fire Service Rescues as opposed to injuries. It is felt that this is a less reliable figure than the total number of casualties (injuries and rescue). The number of rescues had risen steeply in 2002, and this may be a reporting issue (the definition of a rescue not being exact enough perhaps).

5.5.1 Dick Pearson also made some comments on Fire Statistics as applied to the Welsh Assembly region. Research there had shown that there were a large number of people in the high-risk groups as identified by FSEC, which would lead to higher than average numbers of fires and fire casualties.

5.5.2 HMI Robinson agreed that there was scope for a finer definition of a rescue and those lead to safety, and that a consistent approach needed to be adopted.

6 Secretary's Report

6.1 Due to pressures of other work, the secretary had not progressed the database of fire statistics sources to the stage where it could go online. This would be addressed as time permitted.

6.2 The website had been narrowed to two possible options. Either ODPM or CFOA would host the site, with ODPM as the preferred option. Mick Robinson was able to point the secretary to the appropriate members of the division.

7 Any Other Business

7.1 Mike Coull of Grampian FRS was able to report that three Fire Services were now reporting incidents of fires in historic buildings, and 50 such events had been reported already.

7.2 Steve Emery reported a database being used by Oxfordshire that included building data updated by the owner and accessible by the fire service and other emergency services online but with password protection.

7.3 The Chair informed the group of a fire safety network with each of the 17 Member States represented. Since fire deaths are measured very differently in each country they would concentrate on the trend in fire deaths rather than trying to get uniformity of counts across the board. This was considered a very positive step, although the fragmentary approach to fire (it sits in many different departments in different governments was a potential problem).

8 Date of Next Meeting

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