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Fire and Rescue Statistics User Group

41st Meeting of the
Fire & Rescue Statistics User Group
24th November 2014, 11.00 – 3:00 pm
London Fire Brigade HQ,
169 Union Street, London SE1 0LL

1. List of attendees

Adedayo Akinfolajimi


Andrew Mobbs

London Fire Brigade

Catherine Barham

DCLG Head of fire research

Apollo Gerolymbos

London Fire Brigade

Dave Berry

UK Timber Framed Association

Dave Sibert


David Townsend

IFIC Forensics

David Wales

South East Fire Investigation Group

Dennis Davis

Fire Sector Federation

Gareth Bradbury

Hertfordshire FRA

Graham Ellicot

Fire Industry Association

Garry Fleming

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

Dominic Louks

Fire Protection Association

Emma Crowhurst

DCLG Head of fire statistics

Heidi Jones

DCLG Incident Recording System Service Manager

Jason Davies

West Midlands Fire Service

Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell

BRE Global Ltd

Ken Dunn


Kirsty Bosley


Scottish Government – Fire research and statistics

Nadia Al-Sabouni

Buckinghamshire FRA

Neil Odin

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service

Phillipa Haxton

Scottish Government – fire statistics

Rafal Pisula

DCLG fire research

Rob Gazzard

South Eastern England Wildfire Information Group

Rowena Hill

Nottingham Trent University

Samuel Fairman

Northamptonshire FRS

Sheila Pantry

Fire Information Group

Simon Flood

Avon Fire & Rescue Service

Steve Willet

Northamptonshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service

Stewart Kidd

British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association

Stewart Ross

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Vivienne Brunsden

Nottingham Trent University

2. Chair’s Introduction

Kirsty thanked everybody for attending and thanked Andrew Mobbs and London Fire Brigade for hosting the meeting; she also welcomed members attending for the first time.

3. Apologies

Apologies were received from Steve Emery, Bob Bantock, Greg Barber, Nazneen Chowdhury, Richard Hall, Julia McMorrow.

4. Matters arising from the minutes

Kirsty briefly went through minutes of the last meeting, and the minutes were signed off ready to be posted on the FRSUG web. Given the brevity of this item, members were asked to send any comments on the minutes to the chair.

The last minutes included a list of acronyms used during the meeting, Sheila Pantry pointed out that the Fire Information Group website includes fire related acronyms and this has also been added to the FRSUG website.

From the minutes, Kirsty raised the project on economic cost of fire model and progress on that project. Dennis Davies had met with Christine Gough (Quality Assurance Manager – DCLG) to establish ways of working together on it. The specification is now back with the Fire Sector Forum for revision. The previous specification is to be simplified and re-released.

Lewis Ramsey is leading on a similar project within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and Kirsty will approach him to see if he will present on it at the next meeting. Graham Ellicot said he would like to see the cost of fires in London.

5. FRSUG business

5.1 Chair nomination and membership

Following an email consultation on the post of chair and vice-chair of the group, no objections were received and Kirsty said she is happy to carry on as chair, but the group should start thinking about succession planning.

Kirsty reiterated that members should be representing their groups rather than attend as individuals. She has had notification that Neil Gibbins will represent the IFE in future meetings.

5.2 FRSUG website and future publicity

The FRSUG website includes events, statistics, publications and a link to receive updates. Members are asked to send Sheila links to any articles they feel may be of use and to check their own entries for correctness.

5.3 Publications since last meeting

Dennis said Geneva Association’s website is a good resource for research papers though they have stopped publishing Economic Fire Research reports.

Scottish HMFSI has published two reports of interest since FRSUG’s last meeting: Risk-based operational decision making in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service PDF Document and Emergency Medical Response in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service PDF Document.

Scottish Government have changed names of the two statistical publications to reduce confusion between them. The new names and proposed publication dates are:

Rob Gazzard reported that the Forestry Commission have published Forestry Statistics 2014.

Forestry Statistics 2014, Environment Section, Woodland Fires and Forestry Commission / Northern Ireland Forest Service Forestry Statistics home page

Woodland fires are a sub set of the wildfires recorded IRS between 2010/11 and 2012/13, for both number of incidents and area burnt. Woodland fires account for a small percentage of wildfires on affected habitats in Great Britain. Woodland fires are analysed using the National Forest inventory allowing reporting of 10 forestry sub-classes not shown in these summary of the statistics.

6. National reports

6.1 Scotland

Kirsty reported on the work Scottish Government has had to do to ensure that Recorded Crime in Scotland maintains its national statistics status. This has involved developing a Framework of Assurance PDF Document that details the suitability of the data; factors that the Scottish Government has taken into account in producing the official statistics and the information that users need to know in order to make informed use of the statistics. She pointed out that this requirement will be very similar for the incident statistics publication and that FRSUG helps to provide the evidence of user engagement and data usage. Nadia also noted that there is a document in resilience direct which looks at quality assurance on fire statistics.

6.2 DCLG Research and Statistics

6.2.1 Incident Recording System

Heidi described the progress made with the development of the new IRS, which will initially look exactly like the current system but with a number of improvements. These include using a modern technology stack, up to date security and an improved user interface allowing a better user experience and improved data quality. Other changes include a new theme, easier to use controls, improved searching and type-ahead functionality facility, which will provide search results as users start to type in specific information. The first release of the system will not include any data changes though some have been agreed with the CFOA IRS Data Group for future implementation.

6.2.2 Statistical Releases

Emma reported back on Statistical Releases published by DCLG since the last meeting – Fire Statistics Monitor was published in July, and Fire Incident Response Times and Fire and Rescue Operational Statistics were both published in August – all for 2013/14 and all for England.

Emma told the group that there had been a variety of data problems over the past few months which has made analysis and data provision difficult for the team – including one FRS being unable to provide full data in time for inclusion in the Monitor publication (which therefore required estimation), data flow problems arising from the move to DCLG’s new building, and, more recently, a failure in the nightly SQL procedure which converts incoming IRS records to a usable format (which remains unresolved).

In terms of upcoming publications, the next Fire Statistics Great Britain (2013/14) is due to be published in December/January, although technical problems, staff changes and the volume of ad hoc requests are making this challenging. Given DCLG’s policy responsibility for England only, it has been suggested that future editions of this Release should focus on England, although Emma and FRSUG members (as well as the UK Statistics Authority) recognise the value of key statistics being comparable across Great Britain. DCLG plan to consult formally next year but views from the group are welcome at any time.

The half yearly Fire Statistics Monitor (for April to September 2014, England) is due to be published after Christmas, although is likely to be delayed until Spring because of the previously mentioned data problems, with the annual Monitor for 2014/15 following in the Summer. Publications on Operational Statistics and Response Time are planned for late August and September respectively, although the timing of all of these are reliant on data availability and adequate staffing.


A question was asked on whether the next FSGB publication will contain animal deaths as it has been excluded in previous publications. There are no plans for any additional tables above what was published last year and it is thought that data on animal deaths may no longer be asked on the IRS. Kirsty pointed out that, in a recent consultation asking what users would like from the Scottish fire statistics, there were several, very specific requirements from specialists and that it is impossible to publish all possible outputs. In these cases, and where the data exists, statisticians can respond to ad hoc requests for particular data.

7. Presentations

7.1 Burn injuries using statistics from major burn trauma centres statistics – Ken Dunn.

Presentation PDF Document available on FRSUG website.

Ken is a Burn and Plastic Surgeon from Manchester. His presentation covered the International Burns Injury Database and his team’s analysis of the data.

A point to note is that there is no cure for a burn injury hence the only logical action is prevention.

Incorporating work from the Manchester Burns Research Group, Ken has been looking at burn injury and care to establish the size and scope of the problem, the costs and consequences and how best to prevent it. In support of this work, his team has been looking at sources of information in England and Wales.

The presentation includes analysis of the source and severity of burns, and the economic cost of them, where and how people get injured and a breakdown by age. It also considered the alignment of Greater Manchester FRS data on fire casualties and the data on flame injuries that were admitted to burns unit not known to GMFRS.

Moving forward the team will look at methods of prevention and work on obtaining more data from relevant sources. They will then be able to provide a bigger national picture.

Members questions included discussion of what a fire death is, what are the risk factors of sustaining a burn, discussion of overseas comparisons and cost benefit of preventative activities vs. healthcare costs.

7.2 Guide to FRSs working with academia – David Wales/Rowena Hill

David and Rowena gave a presentation on how the fire sector can build effective professional relationships with a university. They would like to find a way to use data, research and evidence better and to make the impact more visible. To achieve this, they are producing a research guide, and would be grateful for input on what others think that the guide should contain. They’ve covered why the FRS should be involved, explored ways in which working together can benefit both organisations. They want the guide to be a live document; they want it to be community based. It includes guidance on possible funding, including collective bids and a section of possible challenges in working with academics.

A challenge of the work is to ensure that the guidance is used and updated – finding ways of engaging with stakeholders and making sure the document is easily accessed.


Rob Gazzard suggested guide books on National milestones e.g. the Treasury Green and Magenta Books.

Sheila pointed out that the guidance has to be easy to find and suggested a number of ways to engage better. Key words are important as are links to resources such as the Health & Safety Laboratory at Buxton ( – Health and Safety Executive’s Laboratory at Buxton that carries out fire and explosion research work) and Greenwich University – University of Greenwich Fire Safety Engineering Group (FSEG) ( Europe’s largest university-based fire/evacuation modelling research team, FSEG specialises in computational fire engineering, particularly fire and evacuation modelling, urban-scale evacuation dynamics, and pedestrian dynamics. FSEG expertise and modelling tools are used all over the world to solve safety, security and pedestrian dynamics problems.

7.3 Integrated Data Research Project – Neil Odin, CFOA

Neil is driving a data strategy trying to understand the datasets around fire. He wants to use the data to understand the FRS contribution and to drive transformation of the service. He chairs the Fire Central and Local Government Information Partnership Group (CLIP) to ensure that data collections carried out by central and local government are relevant, realistic and proportionate. There are a lot of statistical returns and CLIP will consider whether they are needed or not. Fire Safety returns will be the first challenge.

Focus for the project in coming years are four main areas:

  1. Research – how to use existing work and reduce duplication across the board.
  2. Social marketing and analysis – understand what our community looks like. Kent FRS are leading on this work.
  3. Data Collection and Sharing – We need to be better at sharing relevant data. In April 2014 CFOA ran a conference called “Dying for data” showcasing a number of case studies looking at the benefits of data sharing with Fire and Rescue Services and the potentially fatal consequences of not doing so. CFOA are now working with the Information Commissioner’s on finding, defining and sharing data.
  4. Benchmarking – establishing what central government needs for benchmarking and ensuring the measures and targets are right and that the data supports them. Neil suggested bringing a discussion on the measures used back to FRSUG.

Neil will share an early version of the paper with FRSUG and is interested to hear and suggestions on ways to engage with stakeholders.

7.4 Using FRSUG as platform for research papers, peer reviews – Nadia al-Sabouni

Nadia has set up the Knowledge Direct website on the Resilience Direct platform hosted by OS. This provides a searchable structure on which research and articles can be published with peer reviews added as you go along. She demonstrated the site showing FRSUG how to access and make best use of the resources available.

7.5 Trends in Accidental Dwelling Fires in Scotland from 2009 – Stewart Ross

Stewart acknowledged IRS as a superb data source that can be linked to other information. He has been analysing Scottish data to explore what might be working to cause the decline in accidental dwelling fires across Scotland. His analysis showed that while dwelling fires in Scotland are decreasing this is not a consistent decline across Scotland. Taking the SIMD [i] data zones, Stewart removed the city data zones and found little statistically robust decline in the dwelling fires. His hypothesis is therefore that the decline is dwelling fires is driven by a reduction in the cities, not across the whole of Scotland. He found 60% of home fire safety visits (HFSV) were carried out in the 40% deprived data zones and that 71,000 HFSV were carried out per year.


Dave Sibbert asked whether the accidental dwelling fires included any aspect of fire severity. Stewart said that while he had looked into the fire severity indicator that was to be incorporated into the new IRS, this had not been included in the analysis as demonstrated.

[i] SIMD – Scottish Indices of Deprivation

7.6 Development of IRS – Heidi Jones

Heidi apologised that she could not access IRS to demonstrate the new system to FRSUG. She pointed out that there is to be no work on data changes in the first roll-out. Currently, web forms are being changed and a new infrastructure is being built which should be quicker and provide a better user experience.

The new IRS will contain a GIS and the team is talking to Ordnance Survey on the 11th of December about that. She said users will be able to able to change their passwords and the project is modelled from the users’ perspective.

Data migration from the old to the new version of IRS starts on the 1st of December. Rollout of new system may be around April next year instead of January.

8. Any other business

Kirsty asked if anybody was looking into RIP Cigarettes as Scottish Government policy colleagues were interested. Dave Sibert and David Townsend offered known research in this area.

West Midlands FRA is developing an interactive and publicly available platform for their risk management plan. They plan to include FRS data along with other external data sources. Jason Davies would welcome members’ views on the subject.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 2015. Suggestions where sought on where the next FRSUG meeting will be held.

[Chair’s note: LFB have kindly offered their facilities again for the next FRSUG meeting.]