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Fire Statistics Scotland, 2000

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FIRE STATISTICS SCOTLAND, 2000

2. Summary
  • There were 55,800 total fires (primary, secondary and chimney) in Scotland in 2000, an increase of 6 per cent on the 52,600 fires recorded in 1999 . Since 1999 primary fires have fallen by 2 per cent to stand at 20,200 fires in 2000, whilst secondary fires have risen by 14 per cent to stand at 32,400 fires in 2000. Chimney fires decreased by 10 per cent to stand at 3,100 in 2000. Strathclyde which accounted for 44 per cent of the Scottish population accounted for 53 per cent (29,600 fires) of total Scottish fires in 2000, compared to 2 per cent (1,000 fires) in Dumfries & Galloway (which accounted for 3 per cent of the Scottish population in 2000).
  • Between 1990-2000 the total number of Scottish fires increased by 12 per cent, due entirely to a 41 per cent increase in secondary fires. The number of chimney fires decreased by 58 per cent.
  • Scottish dwellings fires accounted for 70 per cent (9,309 fires) of Scotland's total buildings fires. This compares with 62 per cent for England, 59 for Wales and 64 per cent for Northern Ireland. In comparison to 1990 dwellings fires are down 5 per cent in 2000 and all other buildings fires are down 10 per cent. Together they are responsible for a 7 per cent fall in total buildings fires since 1990.
  • Over the last 10 years, primary outdoor fires have risen by 1,617 fires (30 per cent) to stand at 6,946 in 2000. The main reason for this is a 49 per cent (1,974 fires) increase in fires in road vehicles. However whilst in Scotland, road vehicle fires accounted for 15 per cent of total outdoor fires (including secondary fires) in 2000, the equivalent proportion for the UK as a whole was almost twice this at 27 per cent.
  • Over the past decade total Scottish secondary fires have risen by 41 per cent (9,409 fires). The principal categories of secondary fires that this rise can be attributed to are (i) an increase in grassland & heathland fires by 77 per cent or 3,256 fires and (ii) an increase in refuse fires by 31 per cent or 4,951 fires. 65 per cent (20,954) of all secondary fires in 2000 involved refuse or refuse containers.
  • In Scotland, there were a total of 75 fatal casualties in 2000, of which 67 (89 per cent) occurred in dwellings fires and 4 (5 per cent) occurred in road vehicles. The total number of fatal casualties in 2000 was the lowest figure in ten years. Out of a total of 2,263 non-fatal casualties, 1,999 occurred in dwellings fires (88 per cent) and 138 (6 per cent) occurred in other buildings. The total number of non-fatal casualties in 2000 was the highest figure in ten years. The principal cause of fatal casualties was the combination of burns and being overcome by gas and smoke (27 fatal casualties).
  • In comparison to the other UK countries, Scotland reported both the highest number of fatal casualties per million population (15 fatal casualties per million population) and the highest rate of non-fatal casualties (to those not working for fire brigades) per million population (432 non-fatal casualties per million population). The equivalent figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were 10, 13, 10 and 267, 320 and 279 respectively. Within Scotland the number of fatal casualties per million population was highest in Tayside and Strathclyde (18 fatal casualties per million population) whilst the highest rate of non-fatal casualties per million population (to those not working for fire brigades) was reported by Strathclyde (495 non-fatal casualties per million population).
  • Malicious fires increased by 279 fires (3 per cent) between 1999 and 2000 to stand at 8,815 fires or 44 per cent of total primary fires in 2000 - the highest figure and highest percentage of primary fires in the last 10 years. In 2000, there were 11 fatal casualties of malicious fires and these accounted for 15 per cent of total fatal casualties. The pattern of accidental fires causing significantly more fatal and non-fatal casualties than malicious fires has held throughout the decade.
  • In Scotland, rescues from dwellings fires by fire brigades increased by 187 (23 per cent) between 1999 and 2000, to reach 1,013 rescues by fire brigades. Rescues without brigade assistance rose by 45 (16 per cent) to reach 335 rescues in 2000.
  • In 2000, 4,500 dwellings fires (48 per cent of the total number of dwellings fires) occurred in dwellings without a smoke detector. This compares to 29 per cent (2,745 fires) of total Scottish dwellings fires which occurred in dwellings where a smoke detector was present, operated and raised the alarm. In the years since 1994, the majority of fatal casualties have occurred in dwellings fires where either the smoke detector was present but failed to operate or in dwellings fires where a smoke detector was absent.
  • 2,088 fires or 22 per cent of total Scottish dwellings fires in 2000 were maliciously started. The remaining accidental dwellings fires (78 per cent of total Scottish dwellings fires) were in the main caused by misuse of equipment or appliance (2,875 fires or 31 per cent) and chip or fat pan fires (1,772 fires or 19 per cent).
  • In 2000, total fire false alarms in Scotland constituted 51,800 incidents, representing just under half (48 per cent) of total call outs to fires (primary, secondary and chimney) and false fire alarms.