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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

17th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
Tuesday 6th December 2005 at 10:30 am
Allington Towers


Mr. G. Evans

Chair, FBU

Mr. T. Wilmot

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. A. Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Mr. S. Emery

English Heritage

Ms. S. Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr. G. Gower-Kerslake

Buildings Division, ODPM

Mr. I. Evans


Mr. M. Coull

Historic Scotland

Mr. M. Rowan


Ms. L. Avery

Fire Statistics and Research Division, ODPM

Mr. I. Gough


Mr. R. Thilthorpe


Mr. Dave Pember-Finn

Hereford and Worcester FRS (CFOA)

Mr. A. McCormack

Secretary, ODPM

1 Chair's Introduction

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Brian Tregunna, the group's CFOA representative and Deputy Chief at Hereford and Worcester had resigned from the group for the best of reasons - he has been promoted to Chief Fire Officer in Derbyshire. The group offered its congratulations. His substitute was Dave Pember-Finn.

2 Apologies

Mr. D. Champion

Fire Statistics and Research Division, ODPM

Prof. A. Everton

University of Central Lancashire

Mr. M. Robinson


Mr. S. Kidd


Mr. D. Pearson


Mr. N. Bason


Ms K. Helm


Mr. B. Tregunna


3 Minutes of Previous Meeting

3.1 There were a few minor corrections to the Minutes.

4 Matters Arising from the Minutes.

4.1 The major matter raised from the minutes was the group's representation on the Statistics User Forum, and how it could be used to help the group in its work by giving it access to extra sources of information, and in publicising the group.

5. Report of the Work of the FDR1 Data Definition

5.1 Lyndsey Avery gave an update on the work of the Data definition group. A new project manager had been appointed for the project, and work on the proposed XML schema was on-going. The results of the consultation process had been approved by ministers, who were content with the proposed new data collection form. Lyndsey would arrange for this to go out to members of the group.

ACTION Lyndsey Avery would forward details to the group.

5.2.1 Ian Gough asked what access will members of the public and interested parties get to the new information.

5.2.2 Fire and Rescue Services will get updates on a regular basis. All other interested parties would be able to ask for ad-hoc queries on a request basis as now, but should receive answers that used more current information than presently.

5.3 In addition, fire-related data will be put on the Neighbourhood Statistics (NeSS) part of the ONS website late in 2005, and it is possible that the data will be available through the e-portal.

6. Definition of Fires for FDR1 Returns (Chair / all)

6.1 This item was held until the next meeting.

7. Update on Heritage Sites Fire and Rescue Information (Secretary)

7.1 The secretary had developed a way of getting fires and other incidents involving the Fire Service from FSEC. This required a method of geo-coding the heritage site data. It was agreed one FRS (Oxfordshire was selected) as a trial run, and to do the same for at least one Scottish brigade. The results would be presented at the next meeting. Assuming the process worked, a standard text query could be developed that each FRS could run to update the number of incidents close to a heritage site routinely, and in a standard format.

ACTION: Secretary to report on success or failure of this at the next meeting.

7.2 Steve Emery reported that a trawl through fires that had been well-publicised had found a lot of fires affecting heritage sites. This had proved a good source of data so far.

7.3 Mike Coull reported that four Scottish FRSs were reporting incidents (which covered 55% of all heritage sites in Scotland). They had reported 110 FDR1 incidents in listed properties.

8 Sources of Data for Fire and Rescue Statistics (Secretary)

8.1 The secretary had compiled most of the sites known to the group on a simple database and would circulate at the next meeting for comment, and then to be made available on both the Statistics User Forum Website and the group's own.

9. Website - Chair (report from secretary)

9.1 Departmental reorganisation and the secondment of the secretary to Greater Manchester had held this up. The secretary hoped for positive news at the next meeting.

10. Any Other Business

10.1 The Chair gave the group a short update on the work of the warehouse working group, and undertook to give a full report of the group's work to FRSUG at the next meeting.

10.1.1 They had looked at a snapshot of fires (those requiring five or more pumps at buildings reported to be warehouses) to identify relevant times and FRSs so that a more detailed investigation could take place. It was found that approximately half of the fires reported as warehouses were no, and were either factories or large shops.

10.2 One conclusion of the work is that it would appear that the rate of fires in warehouses was considerably lower than the FDR1 statistics would imply, and that in shops and factories higher.

10.2.1 Another discovery was that for relatively serious fires such as these, FRSs were not keeping information (e.g. written reports) about the fire. Many of these fires should have been considered as FOSIs, and insurance claims could easily not be settled for some years.

10.3 The key implications for this group were that data was being lost, and that some of the data being collected was potentially inaccurate - with only a limited chance of rectifying this.

10.4 Tom Wilmot pointed out that the Cost of Fire report had concluded that fires in warehouses and schools were the most significant property costs, and this might not be correct in light of these findings. Therefore, the significant effort from fire safety bodies may be focussing on the wrong types of buildings.

10.5 Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake pointed out that a warehouse contained staff who would be familiar with exits and fire safety rills, which would also be true of a factory. However, a shop is a very different matter as large numbers of those present would not be familiar with the building.

10.5.1 Steve Emery pointed out that from a fire-fighting viewpoint however, the approach for modern warehouses, factories and large warehouse-type shops once confirmed empty was very similar.

11. Any Other Business

11.1 Ian Gough reported that BAFSA had been provided data on fires in sprinklered buildings in London. The data had proved t be very interesting. He raised the point so the group were aware of its existence.

11.1.1 I t was also reported that a significant loss on fire insurance industry this year, not least due to one very large (greater than one billion pounds insured loss) in one fire.

11.1.2 Tom Wilmot said this again raised the necessity of Government making reduced property loss from fire a part of their remit.

11.2 The secretary had asked Geoffrey Gower-Kerslake to give a short update on the progress of the Regulatory Reform (Fire safety) Order. At the time of comment, a target of April 1st for the implementation of the order in England and Wales - requiring guidance being published in January - was the aim.

11.2.1 The intention was for the guidance documents to be suitable for the layman to use, and they had been consulted on, but not as extensively as some had hoped. In addition, enforcer guidance documents were also being prepared.

11.2.3 Sheila Pantry asked if the synergies with other health and safety legislation were being fully examined, as much other legislation was framed on a risk-assessment basis.

11.3 The World Fire Statistics centre bulletin number 21 was to be published shortly. The website for getting a download is

12 Date of Next Meeting

The date of the next meeting was set as Tuesday March 7th, 10:30 am at a venue to be advised.