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Fire Statistics Scotland, 2002

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Statistical bulletin CrJ/2004/2: Fire Statistics Scotland, 2002

2. Main Points
  • There were 52,600 total fires (primary, secondary and chimney) in Scotland in 2002, a decrease of 11 per cent on the 59,400 fires recorded in 2001.
  • Over one-third of all fires were primary fires. Of those, almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of primary fires were in buildings, 30 per cent were road vehicle fires and the remaining primary fires were other outdoors fires. Just under three-fifths (59 per cent) of all fires were secondary fires and the remaining 5 per cent were chimney fires.
  • Since 2001, primary fires have fallen by 3 per cent, secondary fires by 15 per cent and chimney fires by 28 per cent in 2002.
  • In Scotland there were a total of 77 fatal casualties in 2002 - a decrease of 19 fatal casualties, or 20 per cent, on the figures from 2001. Sixty-three fatal casualties (82 per cent) occurred in dwelling fires and 7 (9 per cent) were in road vehicles. The number of non-fatal casualties in Scotland in 2002 was 2,045, a decrease of 2 per cent compared with 2001.
  • In comparison to the other UK countries, Scotland reported both the highest number of fatal casualties per million population and the highest rate of non-fatal casualties (to those not working for fire brigades) per million population. However, the difference between Scotland and the rest of the UK has narrowed since 2001, when Scotland had nearly twice the fatal casualty rate of the other UK countries. It is of note that the Scottish rate of fatal casualties per 1,000 dwelling fires in 2002 was similar to the rates in the other UK countries. This suggests that the reason for Scotland's higher overall fatality rate per million population in 2002 reflected a higher risk of dwellings fires rather than a greater likelihood of a fatal casualty occurring in such fires.
  • The principal cause of fatal casualties was being overcome by gas and smoke (46 fatal casualties). A further 13 fatal casualties were caused by burns alone, and 12 fatal casualties were caused by a combination of burns and being overcome by smoke.
  • There were 8,793 deliberate primary fires in 2002, representing 46 per cent of total primary fires - the highest percentage of primary fires in the last 10 years. The pattern of accidental fires causing significantly more fatal and non-fatal casualties than deliberate fires has held throughout the past decade.
  • 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.
  • In 2002, total fire false alarms in Scotland constituted 54,077 incidents, representing just over half (51 per cent) of total call outs to fires (primary, secondary and chimney) and false fire alarms.