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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

27th Meeting
of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
30th January 2009 at 11.00am
Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters, Hamilton


Mr S Hunt


Ms C Reynolds

Communities and Local Government

Ms K Bosley

Scottish Government

Mr M Coull

Grampian F&RS (Historic Scotland)

Mr P Woods

Fire Protection Association

Mr D Smith

Fire Industry Association

Mr R Gazzard

Forestry Commission representing the English Wildlife Forum

Mr D Beverley


Mr D Davis


Mr S Emery

English Heritage

Mr I Gough




Cath Reynolds confirmed that the latest version of the FRD organogram is available on the website.




Tony Paish to contact CTIF regarding potential engagement with FRSUG. Tony emailed Dr. Peter Wagner but received no reply. Tony Paish to write to Denis Davis to say that the Group would like to improve contact and propose a way forward.



Dennis Davis confirmed he had responded to Bruslinksy but that the matter was not going anywhere. Group agreed to pick up on this in more detail in item 6.



Sheila Pantry to create, host and maintain the FRSUG website as agreed.

Simon Hunt advised that the FRSUG website was now up and running. The meeting expressed thanks to Sheila and noted that any amendments should be provided to Sheila Pantry



Cath Reynolds suggested that to keep the the spreadsheet describing who has statistics and what they are up-to-date, it should be passed round the group every six months and changes requested. The spreadsheet should therefore be circulated to FRSUG members at the next meeting.



Simon Hunt noted that the minutes from the EU Fire Safety Network are publicly available




IRS guidance - dealt with at item 11




Simon Hunt advised not yet written to FSC - more detail provided at item 7



Simon Hunt has provided Dennis Davis with a copy of the letter to the Commission from the Network


26/4 & 5

Research document by Rob Gazzard - dealt with at item 5



Guidance on wildfire for the IRMPs was issued on website August last year. Dave Beverley expressed concern that those preparing IRMPs were not confident with the guidelines. Simon Hunt advised that this issue may be for the IRMP Steering Group. Cath Reynolds advised that there is an ongoing IRMP policy evaluation which is due to report soon in England. Kirsty Bosley confirmed that Scotland were going to review this year. It was suggested by Simon Hunt that the IRMP related statistic website links be added to the FRSUG website.



Dennis Davis confirmed that the Large Loss Fires has been moved on and the report was being brought to finalised stage. Paul Woods is co-ordinating the report. CLG had let a contract to review the data in preparation for publishing it. The report has identified some serious gaps in knowledge. A discussion followed regarding FI reporting noting that consistent data, saved on a database and including cause and buildings factors would improve the lessons learned. It was noted that the CFOA working group should call any meeting to discuss this further but that all round the table should be present and also the IFE Special Interest Group. CFRAU is trying to put a process in place to learn quick lessons from fires of special interest.



Steve Emery's Guide to Fire Safety in Historic Town Centres to be placed on the FRSUG web site



Simon Hunt confirmed that he had spoken to Kirstine Dale at the Met Office and they would welcome further dialogue. This should be tied into Rob Gazzards work as this progressed.



Mike Coull has sent Sheila the PDF to add to the FRSUG website


1. Chair's Introduction

Simon Hunt, Chair, welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Apologies

Mr D Rae

Fire Service College

Mr T Paish

World Fire Statistics Centre

Ms S Pantry

Fire Information Group

Mr R Thilthorpe

Fire Industry Association

Ms S Campbell

Scottish Government

Mr T Robertson

Scottish Government

Mr G Sayer

Communities and Local Government

Ms S Wright

Communities and Local Government

3. Minutes of the 26th Meeting


Pg 3 - 5.1 - Last sentence of first paragraph. Simon pointed out that this was out of context.

Pg 3 - 5.1 - First sentence of second paragraph should read "The work on Safety Cigarettes"

4. Matters Arising

Actions from the last meeting have been updated as above.

Kirsty Bosley advised that Scottish Resilience's organisational structure are in flux at the moment but will try to provide an organogram as soon as it is available.

Fire investigation reporting: it was decided that CFOA have someone responsible for this area and it ould be useful for FRSUG to keep in contact with what they're doing. Cath and Simon would contact them about meeting to discuss FI reporting. Need to learn general messages from big or interesting fires, existing reports tend to focus on the cause but could consider extending that to include reasons for the size of the fire and consequences.


Rob Gazzard provided the background to his Executive Summary. He identified a problem with consistent reporting of vegetation fires. The Forestry Commission are responsible for land management but do not have legislation regarding fire. Rob advised that he was mindful that the statistics will be owned across various government departments and the Forestry Commission has provided operational guidance to help their own staff to match their fire reports with IRS, and guidance for fire officers completing the IRS form - the guidance is now included in the IRS handbook. that there is a need to form a base line for vegetation fires as the IRS does not allow a detailed record of the habitat system. Rob also explained the 'Fire beaters' project, which looked to find out about fire behaviour.

Next steps: Rob to circulate the final draft of the report to FRSUG. He is taking it to the English and Scottish Wildfire forums. Rob proposed that soil depth be included in the IRS report. However FRSUG members and CLG felt that this would be beyond the scope of knowledge of the officer in charge of the incident. If it was needed the Forestry Commission would have to add its own data onto IRS data. FC have requested IRS data from CLG. The FC have an obligation to provide vegetation fire data to the EU.

6. European Statistics - paper circulated

Simon Hunt presented a paper from the EU Fire Safety Network which was carried out early 2000 and looked at member states and what they were doing re preventative measures. Bjorn Albinson of Swedish collated the report. The EU Fire Safety Network exists to share good practice.

The EU plans to develop a standard for Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) cigarettes. Until this standard is in place it is not possible to produce EU legislation requiring them. However, Finland is progressing outwith EU legislation.

The network has discussed fire safety in hotel groups; related issue re technical standard. Size and scope of issue; network written to commission who are supportive of it.

Simon provided a background to a draft of a specification for research to consider the recording of fire statistics in the EU, focussing primarily on fire deaths. Cath Reynolds had agreed to provide funding. Dave Beverley requested that at 3.2 key terms and definitions are included. Cath confirmed that this could be made specific. The paper is currently out for comments/views, the process has still got a week to go with the next stage will be for the paper to go to tender. Dave Beverley enquired as to the tender process and expressed an interest in being part of the project steering group. Dennis Davis asked if there was a possibility that it would appear as a spec at the end of February. Cath confirmed that this was a possibility and she would keep this group informed.

Firefighter Fatalities

A discussion took place on Firefighter fatalities where it was noted by Cath Reynolds that there was a requirement to learn wider lessons. Simon suggested that this might be useful to incorporate into the statistics development work being carried out by Cath and Kirsty. It would probably also be useful to include a discussion with the author of the report.

ACTION - Simon to work with Cath and Kirsty to put statistics in paper.

7. FSC Library

Dennis Davies advised that FOBFO wrote to ministers advising them that there is not a National Fire Library. The FSC has said it is for students. Discussions with the library staff have been ongoing and it emerged that the way forward would be to keep one copy of the old books and provide students with laptops with materials being digitised. This will rely on having someone to scan in the documents. FOBFO have made a bid to determine if a research job will be funded and are waiting to hearing the outcome of the bid. The group thanked the FBFO for taking this step.

8. Scottish CFS Study

Kirsty Bosley provided the background to the SCFS study which was investigating why Scotland has a higher rate of fires and fire deaths than the rest of the UK and what Community Fire Safety is being carried out in Scotland. The early part of the study is to gather views from interested parties throughout the UK and so Kirsty enquired if she circulated a questionnaire to the group if they would be happy to complete but pointed out that this would be required within a tight timescale. They group agreed they would be content to complete questionnaire.

ACTION - Kirsty to circulate paper.

9. IRMP returns

Cath Reynolds provided background advising that CLG were reviewing the adequacy and impact of IRMPs in England underway and a draft Report was expected by the end of February at the latest. Input is very welcome, contact Cath if interested. Kirsty Bosley advised that in the coming year Scotland will be looking to review the fire statistics provided to Scottish Government (not IRS) and to review IRMP.

10. Development of six key areas of our Group's work plan

  1. Rob Gazzard's UK Wildfire Statistics Report - also to review any of Rob's wildfire documents.
  2. FRSUG website - to create, update and maintain.
  3. Currently available statistics spreadsheet - to update and maintain
  4. Data Sharing Group - reflection upon other bodies who collect statistics in their own right, plus liaise with other statistics collection forums.
  5. IRS Review Group - a subgroup of the FRSUG to look into IRS changes and IRMP statistics.
  6. Dissemination Activities - In Sheila Pantry's absence Simon raised the point that The Fire Information Group UK are holding a conference Mind the Gap: Keeping up to date in fire information 2009 on Wednesday 13 May 2009. It was suggested that Sheila could do an introduction and use this as an opportunity to promote the FRSUG and its activities.

Action - Cath to invite FBU onto IRS steering group

11. Any Other Business

11.1 Simon also raised in Sheila's absence that members may be interested in the new publication Fire Risk Assessment for Small Businesses.

11.2 Rob Gazzard advised that as the Forestry Commission project is finished he will not be attending any other meetings. On behalf of the group Simon thanked Rob for his efforts in taking forward this initiative.

12. Date and location of Next Meeting (28th)

12.1 Next meeting to be on Friday 16th October at 11.00am in room GD/GE on the ground floor of Eland House, Bressenden Place (nr. Victoria station), London SW1E 5DU.