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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Lowest number of accidental house fires in Service's history

03/06/2014

firefighter's with ladder
Two firefighters with a ladder

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has reported the lowest number of accidental house fires in the Service’s history.

"We are extremely pleased to have seen a further drop in the number of accidental house fires; but there remains plenty more work to be done, particularly as we have seen an increase in the number of injuries at these fires. We remain absolutely committed to driving down the levels of fire casualties year on year, however as the numbers are small, the statistics are fragile and can be skewed by one or two incidents involving multiple casualties." 

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford

The performance figures for the period 2013/14 were reported to the Fire and Rescue Authority at a meeting today.

The figures report a total of 550 accidental house fires from April 2013 to March 2014, which is a drop of approximately 100 from figures just four years ago.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Peter Dartford said: "We are extremely pleased to have seen a further drop in the number of accidental house fires; but there  remains plenty more work to be done, particularly as we have seen an increase in the number of injuries at these fires. We remain absolutely committed to driving down the levels of fire casualties year on year, however as the numbers are small, the statistics are fragile and can be skewed by one or two incidents involving multiple casualties.

"We have a working group of officers and Authority members exploring whether there is any evidence of reasons why we have had this increase in casualties as we are keen to determine if there are any lessons we need to learn, so that we can do all we can together with our partners to continue the downward trend of fire casualties into the future by addressing the lifestyle choices that increase vulnerability to fires.

"However,  we also need the people of Staffordshire to consider their own safety and well-being. In over a third of the accidental house fires we attended people did not have working smoke alarms. This is one of the reasons for the injuries – there was no early warning. People who do not have working smoke alarms are quite simply playing Russian roulette with their lives.

"The cause of the majority of these fires was cooking. The victims of the fires we go to are often surprised as to how quickly their food has overheated and set on fire, which is why we stress to people to never leave cooking unattended. Another big contributing factor is alcohol – trying to cook when you’re drunk is a recipe for disaster."

Other figures reported at the Fire and Rescue Authority meeting were for secondary fires including grass fires. There has been a marked increase in the number of grass fires for 2013/14 in comparison to 2012/13; however it is difficult to compare the two years. This is due to 2012 being the wettest summer in 100 years, which had a massive impact on the number of grass fires that occurred during this time.