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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

37th Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
held on
27th February 2013, 11.00 am – 3:00 pm in
Eland House, Victoria St, SW1

List of attendees

Alan McWilliams

Strategic Crime Analyst

Bob Bantock

National Trust – fire manager

Charlotte Cheal


Chris Bigland


Daniel Walker-Nolan

Electrical Safety Council

Dave Berry

Timber Framed Association

Dave Sibert


David Townsend

International Fire Investigators and Consultants

David Wales

South East Fire Investigation Group

Dennis Davis

Fire Sector Federation

Gavin Sayer

DCLG Fire stats

Ian Rowe


Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell


Kirsty Bosley


Scottish Government – fire research and stats

Nazneen Chowdery

FRSUG Secretary


Riana Smit


Richard Johnes


Rob Gazzard

South Eastern Wildfire Information Group

Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group UK (FIGUK)

Simon Flood

South West FRSs and Family Group 4

Steve Emery

English Heritage

Tom Rogers

Enterprise Mouchell

Tony Paish

UK representative of the World Fire Statistics Centre

1. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty Bosley welcomed everyone to the meeting. She expressed her appreciation for the range of interesting agenda items and the breadth of participation from the wider community.

2. Apologies

Graham Ellicott, Louise Craig, Ron Nairn, Nigel Firkins, David Harding, Tom Simms, Stewart Kidd, Terry Edge, Julia Mcmorrow.

3. Minutes of the 36th meeting

Members accepted the minutes of the previous meeting as true record. It will now be published on the FRSUG website and on the Knowledge Hub.

Action: Nazneen to send the minutes to Sheila Pantry for putting on the FRSUG website. Nazneen to post them onto the Knowledge Hub

4. Matters arising

All members had been asked to consider who else should be approached for interest in FRSUG. CFOA had been a notable exception and Tom Simms had hoped to attend on their behalf, or to nominate a CFOA representative for the meeting, but was unable to do so for this meeting. Members were asked again to contact Kirsty by e-mail if they have any suggestions for membership.

Dennis had explored the availability of the DCLG ‘FireDoc’ system as presented by Rafal Pisula at a previous meeting with the DCLG FRED director. At the moment the response is that this issue needs to wait until the ownership of the FSC is resolved.

Action: Dennis to continue to monitor the situation.

Access to the FSC library – the FRSUG is content with plans for the FSC library archive, though there is no external access to the library. Future access is likely to be electronic only.

5. FRSUG proposed action plan 2013

a. Website updating and other publicity:

Sheila Pantry has updated the website with the names and email addresses of the members. She asked members to provide information about their involvement in any research work or if they attended any seminars or conference. She will then update the FRSUG website as the wider community may be interested in this type of news. She invited members to come forward with any other news or new ideas.

Kirsty Bosley added that making a connection between the group and academic activities can be beneficial.

Action: ALL – Members to check their contact details and to ask Sheila Pantry to update with any changes or news.

b. News of the Fire Information Group UK

Sheila Pantry reported that they have formalised the Fire Information Group seminar on 19th June to mark their 25th anniversary. The seminar is free of cost and nineteen delegates already expressed their confirmation. Kirsty Bosley agreed to give a talk on FRSUG. Sheila asked members to nominate a representative to attend if they are interested, though numbers are limited.

c. Dissemination activities – distribution and membership update

Kirsty Bosley informed members that she had circulated a request to find out about people’s continued interest in FRSUG. Three options were offered: (i) people who want full membership (attending meetings), (ii) people who want to stay on the distribution list and (iii) people who did not want to continue being informed about FRSUG. Additionally there are people who have signed up to the FRSUG area of the Knowledge Hub. She asked members to check if any one is missing from the distribution list. At the last meeting it was noted that CFOA were not in the membership list, but Tom Simms had been scheduled to attend this meeting on their behalf, but had to send his apologies.

Action: ALL – consider missing stakeholders and propose them by email to Kirsty.

d. The FRSUG action plan – any amendments

Kirsty Bosley said that she would like to maintain the on-going action plan to set out what the group should do and how. Given the time pressures at this meeting this agenda item was noted but not discussed. Members are welcome to propose items for the action plan by correspondence.

e. Economic cost of fires

Full agenda item follows

f. Fires of Special Interest/Incidents of Special Interest

Full agenda item follows

g. World Fire Statistics Bulletin No. 28

Tony Paish provided a brief commentary on the latest Bulletin, No. 28 dated October 2012, by the World Fire Statistics Centre, copies of which had been circulated to the Group. He added that the Bulletins, which had previously also been circulated in hard copy format, would in future, like other Geneva Association newsletters, be available only as e-documents from the Association’s website. He then briefly outlined the circumstances which had led to the resignation in July, 2012 of Patrick Liedtke, Director and Secretary General of the Association for the previous 12 years. As a result the continuation of the Association’s previous financial support for the WFSC was now in doubt, and past experience had shown that it would be difficult to find an alternative non-commercial source of funding.

Several members commented on the usefulness of the WFSC statistics and, at Sheila Pantry’s suggestion, it was agreed that the Group should be circulated to ascertain how much support there was from members for the continuation of the WFSC’s statistics and if there were any suggestions for an alternative source of finance should this turn out to be required.

6. Economic cost of fire

a. DCLG report on updating the economic cost of fire model

Gavin Sayer reported that Mark Dunn was leading on the work to update the existing model with 2010 data. Mark has gathered data from various sources to feed into the model to estimate the economic cost of fire. However, he and his team have been reassigned onto supporting a review for Sir Ken Knight. He expects to get back onto the economic work within about a couple of months. He noted that Dennis Davies had been at the meetings with Mark and the FBU, and that Dennis might be able to say more.

Dennis Davis said that there was a data issue in relation to pensions that meant that it was not just a simple update of input data.

Gavin mentioned that that the estimate based on 2008 data was available on the website. (Toward bottom of this page

Kirsty Bosley reported that Scottish Government had considered, but ultimately did not join in, the cost of fire analysis, though Scottish economists have been looking at using the English model. She pointed out the value of being able to incorporate the cost of fire into developing policy, in government, in the FRS and elsewhere. She further added that the Scottish team would arrange a meeting with Mark to discuss whether there would be a scope to obtain a comparable figure for England and Scotland.

b. Value of FSEC in modelling the economic cost of fire

Kirsty Bosley explained the value of the FSEC model in aspects of economic modelling, and that the model can measure the impact of all aspects of service delivery, including fire cover and fire safety. She said that, because the emerging single FRS has a single model for Scotland, the toolkit can be used for cost benefit analysis for the whole country.

Tony Paish said that presently the access and use of the toolkit was restricted to Fire and Rescue Services. The scoping of the model needs to be widened.

Dave Sibert said that of the two strands with regards to the cost of fire, the strand working on including much wider issues would need to consider factors beyond those included in FSEC. He also pointed that some of the measures of cost of fires are qualitative in nature for example, the value of fire service intervention in improving the community which could not be quantified and therefore should not be tied up with the economic model. Kirsty pointed out that the direct impact of intervention was quite accurately modelled by FSEC, but agreed that community perceptions were not currently factored in. Dave further said that they were looking for organisations who can take the cost of fire model forward, taking more information from other sources.

c. Fire Sector Federation work – extending the scope of the model

Dennis Davis reported that the Federation had revised the scoping document for the model. He added that initially the main focus within the scoping was on what is achievable.

Dave Sibert reported on the two strands of work that the Fire Sector Federation is currently working on – 1 continue to use the model and ensure the trends are continuous over time and 2 to consider broadening the model to include other economic aspects of fires.

It is also intended that following the 2010 update the model is transferred to the fire sector for future maintenance and update.

Sheila Pantry urged that the up-to-date scoping documents continue to be circulated or published.

David Sibert said that more work is needed on the scoping document.

Dave Berry recalled a BRE work carried out 20 years ago had given valuable insights and advised members to re-read the document.

d. BRE work on cost of fires in warehouses

Jeremy Fraser-Mitchel provided an interesting presentation on using IRS and FDR1 data to produce cost benefit analyses. He pointed out sections where the analysis would benefit from improved incident data. PowerPoint presentation to follow.

7. IRS

a. Current IRS news

Gavin Sayer reported that DCLG is preparing to procure a new contract for the provision of the Incident Recording System (IRS). It is standard in the public sector that such contracts be put to competition about every five years. It is expected that the new system will have usability improvements, for example searchable guidance, and searchable lists for questions where an option needs to be chosen from a long list (eg type of property). These should assist the quality of data.

The most significant change planned for the new IRS is that it should have the flexibility for Fire and Rescue Services to add extra information collected at different times, and in different parts of the country.

Gavin mentioned about that there is a catalogue with a long list of suggestions for changes for the new system. Every suggestion has a reference number so that anyone, including FRSUG members, can comment on any suggestion, and suggest further changes. Gavin also noted that members could send their suggestions to him, and that it was timely and that this should be done ASAP.

Dennis asked about public access to IRS data and how anyone outside the FRS could comment on, or propose a change to, the IRS data. Gavin recommended that anyone with comments send them to him and he would forward suggestions to the Chair of the IRS Working Group, Stuart May, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Isle of Wight. This group comprises Stuart and representatives from 6 other Fire and Rescue Services across England who will gather views as required, and which DCLG also attends, but does not lead. The primary purpose of the group is to establish what change should be made to the IRS national data set. This structure is to meet the requirements laid out by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government regarding changes to data collected by Central Government from Local Government. Access to data is currently limited to the FRS.

UPDATE: The first draft of the catalogue of suggestions for change to the IRS is to be made available on 14th March. Initially comments in response to it should be made using the IRS Knowledge Hub site. It is intended that a new web forum facility will be introduced in due course. FRSUG members can be members (email Gavin to arrange).

Dave Berry noted that he had found DCLG and Stuart May helpful when he and the UK Timber Frame Association recently raised concerns and suggestions.

About half of Fire and Rescue Authorities use the DCLG data collection interface, while the other half uses their own data capture interface and so they have always had flexibility to include extra questions and details. Those that have their own data capture, then transmit completed records to the national data base on the DCLG system.

b. What avenues are there for interested parties to propose changes to IRS? How to disseminate this?

Kirsty Bosley said that there had been a time when FRSUG were not aware of where and how they could raise issues or make comments. She felt that interaction with the working group was needed. She asked if the Knowledge Hub is the appropriate forum to discuss about IRS.

Gavin confirmed that the Knowledge Hub had proved an effective forum for exchanging ideas

Steve Emery asked if the extra questions pertaining to particular FRSs would also be catalogued in IRS to assist researchers. Gavin agreed that this was a good reasonable suggestion and that it should indeed be possible.

Action: Members can send suggestions to Gavin for changes to the IRS ASAP

Gavin will let FRSUG know when the website is available.

8. Fire Sector Federation (FSF)

Dennis Davis reported that FSF was set up in 2012 following a merger of a couple of core groups. The federation is politically neutral with an all party parliamentary group. Members meet twice a year bringing together people with a particular interest to discuss policy and action. The work of the federation is divided into a number of work streams. For example, there are workstreams on workfiorce, resilience and statistics and automatic fire detection. A specific project is managed by the cost of fire group. The aim of the group is to (i) produce an updated version of the cost of fire report and (ii) identify a new set of measures for cost of fires. Dennis Davis said that the Federation’s area of work is much wider than FRS. They are interested in how UK fires are managed and in automatic fire detection system.

For membership, an individual or an association can become a member of the federation.

9. Presentation from Enterprise Mouchell – The impact of fires on the strategic road network

Tom Rogers talked about how fires impact on the management of the motorways and trunk roads in the south of England. Work has been carried out jointly with Highway Agency since 2010. He said that two types of fire impacting the strategic road link: (i) wildfire and (ii) vehicle fire. He presented spatial analysis using vehicle fire data from both IRS and HA Network Control Centre records. The analysis showed that the rate of fire incidents in peak hour is 1.7 times that of off peak incidence. With regard to wildfire, two main regions were identified through mapping: (i) M3 45/0-59/0 and (ii) A31 New Forest and to Canford Bottom. He further reported the economic impact of wildfires on the strategic road network using a modelled case study from 2011. The estimated cost for Lane 1 closure over 4 hours was around £13,300 to £45,400. The 15 minute total carriageway closure made an upper bound of £64,146 (non-exchequer costs) for all delays that day.

10. Presentation from Alan McWilliams

Alan McWilliams gave a presentation on analysis of deliberate fires in Croydon from 1st April to 30th September 2012. To put the data into context, he reported that arson attack leads to an average of 55 injuries and 2 deaths across the country per week. Deliberate (arson) fire attacks cost the UK at least £40 million a week. The average cost of a deliberate house fire is £21,500 and that of a vehicle fire is £4,700. Alan talked about the strategy initiated by the borough in collaboration with other teams to reduce deliberate fires.

11. AOB

FPA Risk Authority database – This discussion will be postponed until the next meeting.

12. Date of the next meeting

The date of the next meeting will be around late June or early July. Nazneen will notify members about the possible dates via Doodle poll.

[Secretary’s note: the next meeting is set for 27th June 2013]