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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

36th Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
25th October 2012, 1.00 – 3.00 pm in
Eland House, Victoria St, SW1


Kirsty Bosley

Scottish Government – Justice Analytical Services – Fire Research and Statistics

Steve Kelly

DCLG – Building Regulations

Charlotte Reay

RISC Authority

Daniel Walker-Nolan

Electrical Safety Council

Dave Berry

UK Timber Framed Association

Dave Sibert


David Wales

South East Fire Investigation Group

Simon Bryant

Chair of Family Group 2

David Townsend

International Fire Investigators and Consultants

Dennis Davis

Fire Sector Federation

Nazneen Chowdery

DCLG Fire Statistics

Nigel Firkins

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

Peter Holland

Institution of Fire Engineers

Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell

Building Research Establishment

Rafal Pisula

DCLG Fire Research

Riana Smit

London Fire Brigade

Richard Johnes

Fire Service College

Ron Nairn

Scottish IRS Forum

Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group UK

Simon Flood

South West FRSs and Family Group 4

Stewart Kidd

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

1. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty Bosley welcomed everyone to the meeting. The excellent and revitalised representation from a wider fire community was noted and appreciated.

2. Apologies

Tony Paish, Gavin Sayer, Graham Ellicott, Greg Barber, Julia McMorrow, Rob Gazzard, Simon Bird, Steve Emery, Terry Edge, Tim Humphrey

3. Minutes of the 35th meeting

The minutes of the 35th Meeting were accepted with no amendments. It will now be published on the FRSUG website and on the Knowledge Hub.

4. Matters arising

There were no matters arising

5. FRSUG Proposed Plan of work 2012

Kirsty Bosley said that proposed plan of work should define what we want this group to do. She was keen that it should be about bringing together all of those with an interest in producing and using fire statistics, and where possible improving the knowledge base.

In the past there had been a FRSUG action plan, the core of which remains on the agenda. In February 2012 this plan had been revisited by correspondence. The views to come back from that were largely around improved use of the existing data, although that was recognised as only the start of the renewed plan. Members of the group raised new issues of interest which will be developed into the new FRSUG action plan and are noted below.

a. Website updating and other publicity needs

Sheila Pantry presented an overview of the FRSUG website. She navigated the members through the main menu and showed what is available under each heading. There was some discussion around the value of maintaining both the Knowledge Hub and the FRSUG website. Sheila Pantry ran through the FRSUG website and the group expressed their appreciation of her work in this area. The group decided that the FRSUG website should remain as the primary location for all FRSUG material. However, because there is existing interest in the Knowledge Hub (in October 2012 there were 77 members signed up), along with its attraction to those with fire interests in other areas, the group decided to maintain the FRSUG presence on the Knowledge Hub but to include a link from there to the FRSUG website.

The website needs to remain up-to-date (it was noted, for example, that some contact details are out of date) and everyone was invited to provide any relevant information for the FRSUG website to Sheila.

Action: All members to provide updates to Sheila Pantry who will update the FRSUG website.

b. News of the Fire Information Group UK

Sheila Pantry said that the Fire Information Group will celebrate their 25th anniversary next year and plan to organise a seminar to mark the occasion. She invited FRSUG to contribute to the seminar by delivering a presentation. It will be a good opportunity for FRSUG members to get to meet with the Fire Information Group and share their aims and knowledge.

c. Dissemination activities

Following the recent consultation exercise in which everyone on the FRSUG distribution list was asked about their continuing interest in the group, Kirsty has updated the FRSUG membership list and will post it, without email addresses, on the FRSUG website. Also attached at Annex A. The exercise is part of the reason for the increased attendance at this meeting, though members did question whether there were some gaps in the membership (CFOA was mentioned).

Action: all members to consider who else should be approached for interest in FRSUG

d. The FRSUG action plan

Sheila Pantry asked members whether anyone wants any particular fire statistics to be publicised. If so, send them to her and she’ll post them on the website.

Action: all members to send anything for publication to Sheila

e. New Item: Economic cost of fires

Dennis Davis and other FRSUG members felt that the economic cost of fire is an area that is currently under-informed. Peter Holland noted that the FPA large loss data is no longer available. Dennis briefed members about the work that the Fire Sector Federation is starting which aims to build on the DCLG cost of fire model. Dennis and Dave Sibert are leading on the work and plan to review and extend the methodology and data sources used in the model. All members were invited to read the papers and comment to Dave Sibert and or Dennis Davis, and join the working group if appropriate. FRSUG decided to maintain a watching brief on this area of work.

DCLG are looking to update the data in their economic cost of fire model, though it was noted that this does not include special services, environmental or heritage losses.

Members felt that they were missing insurance information on fire losses, particularly at the local political level. Charlotte mentioned the RISC Authority database which was set up 5 years ago and considers large loss fires. The aim is to build up the database and provide updated statistics. Issues about the detail of IRS and how well it can answer the questions around fire losses were raised, but it was pointed out that FRSUG is not the forum for discussing amendments to IRS, other groups exist for that purpose.

Dave Berry talked about the modern methods of construction used in timber framed building and Jeremy Fraser Mitchell talked about his project at BRE looking at the costs of fires in warehouses using the FPA database.

Other areas where members took interest are impact of fire on businesses and fire insurance, environmental cost of fire and area damaged by fire.

Action: Dennis to circulate the Cost of fire papers. All members to review and comment if they wish.

Action: To consider all the ongoing work on fire losses and include an agenda item on it at the next meeting.

f. New item: Fires and incidents of special interest

The issue of identifying and reporting incidents of special interest was raised. There are some triggers within IRS, but it is impossible to incorporate, within a national and fixed reporting system, issues which are out of the ordinary or not yet identified. Dave Sibert suggested providing some free text boxes within IRS, which could be used for short term data collections, to be analysed by non-government organisations. While IRS issues remain outwith the scope of FRSUG, it was suggested that these occasional data collections could be part of a separate data collection exercise and may be better incorporated within the Fires of Special Interest forms. Discussion ranged around whether the data was needed as an immediate notification of issues that should be acted upon or whether it was for a two or three year research project. If it was the latter, much data does exist within IRS that should be used.

The group decided that the reporting of incidents of special interest should form a part of the FRSUG Action plan.

6. Fire Service College Library

Richard Johnes updated the group on the future of Fire Service College library following the Fire Service College sale decision. He said at present the library has around 70,000 books in its stock and lots of general materials. Many thousands of outdated books are being disposed of. A digitisation project is on hold as the bidding process for the sale is going through. He also informed that the historical and heritage stock is will be transferred to the Firefighters Memorial Trust and will then be loaned back to the new owners, hence ensuring its value to the nation. The existing College Library and Archive will remain part of the sale.

Access to the library has always been a resource issue since the College became a Trading Fund Agency and the work to digitise and make accessible online the material will help to provide a sustainable long-term solution.

Sheila pointed out that members should remember the existence of the British Library if they need reference material, though it was discussed whether the FSC library holds some work that the British Library does not.

7. Scottish fire reform – the future of data, reporting, local data, and FSEC

Kirsty Bosley reported that the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will come into being on 1st April 2013. At this stage the data collection and publications will have to reflect that single service. Her division are currently working to finalise the recording and reporting arrangements. Initial thoughts had been that all statistics would be the responsibility of the single service, but she is now writing an options paper about the best collection and delivery model for the future.

The new service will have more emphasis around local delivery at local authority level. Key items of incident data are already published at local authority level; this year’s data will be up on the website in November.

She added that responsibility for the FSEC model in Scotland has been handed over to the single Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who will now liaise directly with DCLG on its updates and developments.

8. English Statistical report from DCLG

DCLG Publication

Nazneen reported that the latest DCLG statistical publication would comprise fewer tables as a result of the consultation exercise that was carried out. However the data would still be available in datasets on the internet.

Gavin Sayer had given his apologies for the meeting but provided the following report:

Progress on access to record-level data:

  • Fire and rescue authorities in England can download an England data set of Fire and Rescue Incident and Casualty (IRS) data
  • Two of the three fire and rescue authorities in Wales are considering joining in with this means of access
  • Access to record-level data for others
  • Target date has had to be put back to the end of January 2013. The plan is to produce a data base extract and put this into ONS and University of Essex secure data labs.

Action: Gavin will provide an update on record level IRS data in England at next FRSUG meeting.

Recent / current priorities include:

  • Delivering Fire Statistics Great Britain – end November/early December.
  • We have been working on three special analyses to be published on the same day. These are on:
    1. the impact of alcohol,
    2. Fires in timber frame buildings 2009–10 to 2011–12 (analysis of 3 years of data),
    3. relative frequency of fires in flats and houses

DCLG need to ensure compliance with UK Statistics Authority recommendations by end Nov. this includes

  • write-up and publishing of Fire Statistics GB user survey (22 responses received)
  • providing information for a National Audit Office review of government indicators

DCLG are also looking at the re-let of IT contracts that provide the Incident Recording System

Dave Berry, representing the UK Timber Frame Association was interested that DCLG are carrying out an analysis of fires in timber framed buildings and requested that the project manager within DCLG contact him about the work.

9. DCLG’s “FireDoc” system

Rafal Pisula delivered a presentation on ‘FireDoc’ system. It is an online, intranet based system that allows members to access all fire related information in the last sixty years. The system is a secure and powerful website that allows users to search through the entire library to find operational guidance. In 2010, there were 6,500 pieces of guidance which can be sorted out by categories. In addition to guidance, the library also has Fire Service Circulars and Dear Chief Officer Letters in its collection. The aim is to turn the system into a knowledge management resource for the DCLG fire team.

The group noted this valuable resource and asked about access to the system from outside DCLG.

Actions: Rafal will explore how to make the ‘FireDoc’ system publicly available

Dennis to alert the DCLG Director of the value of FireDoc to the wider community and offer the FRSUG web site as a host (amended post distribution)

10. Fire Severity

Ron Nairn gave an overview of a method developed in Fife to quantify fire severity in dwelling fires. Following situations where the service has been criticised for the number of accidental dwelling fires occurring, his team has developed a fire severity scoring table to measure the severity of fires. The table has got 1 to 5 rating scale. Severity can be broken down into: people, property and resources and each category is based on a number of IRS fields. The analysis has shown that 94% of all incidents fell into the ‘Slight’ or ‘Moderate’ categories and that 45% of all calls required no firefighter action on arrival. They are now looking to use this data to help target CFS activity on areas where serious fires have occurred in Fife.

Stewart Kidd pointed out that there are around 200 domestic sprinklers in Fife and it may be worth considering these in the analysis too.

Avon FRS and London have both carried out similar work, though it was noted that some of the fields in IRS were badly completed, making the analysis more difficult.

The presentation and report of the work are available.

11. “What information do you think you need to do your job properly?”

Sheila Pantry provided some valuable advice with regard to finding the information that people need. She said that using internet is not always very effective in terms of finding right link, and being sure that it is up-to-date and valid. Moreover, often the data is available somewhere but some sources offer services at a cost. The British Library is an excellent source of information, but do charge for services. She asked members to think seriously on the issue.

Daniel Walker-Nolan noted that there is much misleading information available on the internet about electrical issues.

12. AOB

Nigel Firkins raised the issue of finding valid data in support of sprinkler operations. He made the point that some IRS fields are unhelpful as they are confusing and often badly completed. While the group noted the points being raised, it was again felt that specific IRS amendments should be raised at the appropriate IRS forum. Nigel’s paper on data and sprinklers analysis is available on the FRSUG website on Automatic Sprinkler Suppression Systems Data

Dennis noted that CTIF have published their latest World Fire Data and that the FPA are distributing a free publication on risk and arson.

13. Date of the next meeting

The next meeting will be in February 2012. Members will be asked for suitable dates via doodle soon.

Annex A – Responses to the membership consultation September/October 2012

Table 1: Respondents requesting full membership (attending meetings) of FRSUG



Tim Humphrey


Nigel Firkins

Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

Iain Gough


Terry Edge


Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell


Stewart Kidd


Simon Bryant

Chair of Family Group 2

Nazneen Chowdery


Brian Martin

DCLG – Building Regs

Gavin Sayer

DCLG Fire stats

Greg Barber


Daniel Walker-Nolan

Electrical Safety Council

Steve Emery

English Heritage

Dave Sibert


Graham Ellicot

Fire Industry Association

Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group UK (FIG UK)

Dennis Davis

Fire Sector Federation

Charlotte Reay


Simon Bird


Richard Johnes


Sharon Haire

Historic Scotland

Louise Craig


Peter Holland


David Townsend

International Fire Investigators and Consultants

Riana Smit


Julia McMorrow

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)’s Knowledge Exchange section, & University of Manchester

Kirsty Bosley

Scottish Government – fire research and stats

Ron Nairn

Scottish IRS group

David Wales

South East Fire Investigation Group

Rob Gazzard

South Eastern Wildfire Information Group

Simon Flood

South West FRSs and Family Group 4

Dave Berry

Timber Framed Association

Tony Paish

UK representative of the World Fire Statistics Centre

Table 2: Respondents requesting information about FRSUG – stay on the distribution list




Alan Brinson



Carol Molsher

Wiltshire FRS


Claire Davey

Wales fire stats


David Wyatt



Elsa Alonso

Kent FRS


Gillian Conway

Cheshire FRS


James Webb



Jo Mann

Humberside FRS


Karen Klein

Leicestershire FRS


Lindsay Bennison

Scottish Fire Statistics


Lorraine Carney

Electrical Safety Council


Louise Upton



Malcolm Johnston



Mike Coull

Heritage Scotland


Mike Larking



Naomi Orme

Leicestershire FRS


Paul Botterill

Leicestershire FRS


Rebecca Wyard

ORH consultancy


Simon Collyer









Table 3: People signed onto the FRSUG area of the Knowledge Hub

Knowledge Hub members 24/9/12

Donna Abdy

Community Risk Management Co-ordinator – Highlands and Islands Fire & Rescue Service

Dave Baigent

Consultant, Academic – fitting-in

Allan Baird

Senior Researcher – Office for National Statistics

Cathy Barlow

Partnership Officer – Strathclyde Fire & Rescue

Lindsay Bennison

Assistant Statistician – Scottish Government

Kirsty Bosley

Analyst – Scottish Government

Iain Bowen

Watch Manager IRMP – West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Mike Burroughs

Fire Protection and Investigation – Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Roger Childs


Sophie Coles

Business Analyst – Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service

Kathleen Cowie

Performance Information Officer – Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service

Jennie Crapper

Data and Systems Manager – Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

John Curtis

Director of Knowledge and Information Management – Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

Claire Davey

Higher Statistical Officer – Welsh Assembly Government

Jackie A Dawson

FSEC Manager, Planning and Performance – Strathclyde Fire & Rescue

Colin Devon

Data Analyst – Strathclyde Fire & Rescue

Ruth Dobson

Service Performance Officer – NFRS

Sue Donnelly

Research & Intelligence Advisor – SYFR

Martina Doolan

Data Manager – West Midlands Fire Service

George Ellis

Fire Risk Data Team Leader – Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Jonathan Evans

Senior Analyst – LGA, Research and Information

Simon Flood

Performance Improvement Manager – Avon Fire & Rescue

Diane Forman

Performance Information Manager – Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service

Rob Gazzard

South East England Wildfire Group

Anna Gilchrist

Research Assistant – University of Manchester

Tim Graham

Head of Risk and Performance – Cleveland Fire Brigade

Neil Griffiths

Station Commander – West Midlands Fire Service

Iain Hardcastle

Project Manager – Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Clare Hayles


Simon Hunt

Deputy to head of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Advisory Unit – Scottish Fire and Rescue Advisory Unit

Richard Johnes

Community Safety Tutor – Bourton on the Water Parish Council

Helen Julian

Performance Analyst – Essex Fire and Rescue Service

Mark Kirk

Performance and Data Manager – Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Rob MacDougall

Group Manager – Oxfordshire FRS

Catriona MacGillivray

Service Statistician – Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service

Alex Marshall

Project Co-ordinator – Research and Information team, LGA

Chris Mather

Performance Information Analyst – Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

Stephen Miles

Performance Manager – Surrey county Council

David Millar

Director of corporate services – Lothian and borders fire and rescue service

D Morris

management research officer – Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue

Shan Morris

Corporate Planning Manager – North Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Ron Nairn

Watch Manager (Control) – IRMP/Strategic Support – Fife Fire and Rescue Service

Eleanor Nash

CCRA Project Administrator – Defra

Andy Newland

Executive Officer to CFO – Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

Naomi Orme

Planning Manager – Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority

Janine Owen

Strategic Planning Co-ordinator – Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Anthony Paish


Sarah Parker

Performance and Information Officer – Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Di Parkin

Equalities Practitioner – Avon Fire and Rescue Service

Stephanie Parry

Statistical Officer – Statistical Directorate, Welsh Assembly Government

Hiren Patel

Researcher and Data Analyst – Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service

Steve Peat

Data Analyst – Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service

James Pepler

Deputy Chief Actuary – Government Actuary’s Department

Mark Perrin

Performance Improvement Manager – Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service

David Rae

Group Head of Fire Safety – Fire Service College

Stefan Raue

Research Assistant – University of Glasgow

Christopher Rees


Marc Ritchie

Risk Information Officer – Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service

Ian Rowe



ACO – Council

Gavin Sayer

Head of Fire Statistics – Communities and Local Government

Lisa Scarle

ICT Training Supervisor – West Midlands Fire Service

David Sibert

IRMP Advisor – Fire Brigades Union

Riana Smit

Brigade Statistician – London Fire Brigade

Nicola Smith

Business Intelligence & Performance Manager – Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Fire and Rescue Service

Elizabeth Spratt

Analyst – LGA

Ian Standeven

IRMU Statistical Analyst – South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service

Nikki Starnes

IRS Helpdesk – Communities and Local Government

Matthew Stokes

IRS Web Facilitator – Communities and Local Government

Christine Thornhill

Officer – Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

Adrian Turner

Service Convergence Manager – Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service

Geraldine Turner

Fire Analyst ( Temporary) – West Midlands Fire Service

Victoria Wallens

Performance Manager – Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service

Fran Walsh

Watch Manager – Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service

Nicki Whitehouse

Performance Review Manager – Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Chris Williams

Deputy Performance Review Manager – Hampshire Fire & Rescue

Victoria Woodward

Analyst – Wigan Council