5. Notes on statistics used in this bulletin
5.1 Source of Statistics
5.1.1 The statistics in this bulletin are compiled from reports submitted to Communities and Local Government ( CLG) on fires attended by local authority fire and rescue services. Although a variety of Scottish fire statistics are currently published annually by the CLG (see references below), this bulletin is intended to provide a detailed overview of Scottish fire statistics over the past decade at a fire and rescue service and Scotland level, with comparisons to the other UK regions. More detailed information is collected on all fires in buildings, vehicles and outdoor structures and any fires involving casualties or rescues (i.e. "primary" fires) on the fire report form FDR1 (94). Less detailed aggregated information is collected on "secondary" and chimney fires on the FDR3 form; so subsequent analysis of them is limited.
5.1.2 Data for 2002 and 2003 include estimates for November 2002 and January and February 2003 to account for the lack of information recorded during national industrial action. These estimates have been produced using comparable data from earlier years. See section 5.8 below.
5.2.1 A person whose death is attributed to a fire is counted as a fatality even if death occurred weeks or months later. However, it is not always the case that fire was the cause of death. The figures for fatalities are thus subject to revision, as information supplied by fire and rescue services needs to be cross-checked against the cause of death that appears on the death certificate. This publication contains the finalised fire death figures for all years.
5.3 Deliberate and accidental fires
5.3.1 Deliberate fires include those where deliberate ignition is merely suspected, and those recorded by the fire and rescue service as "doubtful".
5.3.2 Data for deliberate and accidental fires were revised in 2000. The revised data corrected an error which resulted in a small distortion in the number of deliberate and accidental fires for the years 1996 to 1998. This error meant that the number of accidental fires were under represented by about 3,500 in these years, whilst malicious fires were over represented by 3,500. The total number of primary fires (involving property or casualties) for these years were not affected.
5.4 Selection of samples of primary fires
5.4.1 With the exception of 2005, the databases for 1997 to 2006 contain all fires with casualties but only a sample of other fires. The samples were selected systematically for each fire and rescue service, with an approximate 20 per cent sampling fraction. The databases for 2005 were 100 per cent input for all fires.
5.4.2 The data have all been weighted to agreed fire and rescue service totals. The detailed analysis of data other than for casualties, or fires involving casualties are based on the sampled data grossed to fire and rescue service totals.
5.5.1 The following list shows the definitions used on the fire report form FDR1 (94):
A reportable fire ( no specific definition prior to 1994)
A reportable fire is an event of uncontrolled burning involving flames, heat or smoke and which the fire and rescue service attended.
Late fire call ( no specific definition prior to 1994)
A fire known to be extinguished when the call was made (or which no call was made, e.g. a fire which comes to the attention of the fire and rescue service as a result of a press report or inquest) and the fire and rescue service attended.
Heat or smoke damage incidents(no specific definition prior to 1994)
These are reportable 'fires' where there is no fire damage. The damage reported may be due to any combination of heat, smoke and other which will include any water damage.
The type of premises, property or countryside in which the fire started. This is not necessarily the type of premises in which most casualties or damage occurred as a result of the fire.
Cause of fire
The defect, act or omission leading to ignition of the fire.
Includes fires where deliberate ignition is merely suspected, and recorded by the fire and rescue service as "doubtful".
Includes fires where the cause was not known or unspecified.
Source of ignition
The source of the flame, spark or heat that started the fire.
Spread of fire
The extent to which fire damage (as opposed to heat, smoke or other damage) spread, for example, beyond the room of origin.
All buildings including those under construction, but excluding derelict buildings or those under demolition. Prior to 1994 'buildings' were referred to as 'occupied buildings'.
Buildings occupied by households, excluding hotels, hostels and residential institutions. Mobile homes are specifically included in the dwelling count. In 2000, the definition of a dwelling (for FDR1 purposes) was widened to include any non-permanent structures used solely as a dwelling, such as caravans, houseboats etc. (amounts to 0.3 per cent of the total number of UK dwelling fires). This change brings the definition of a dwelling more in line with that required under Best Value legislation. All analyses prior to 1998 relating to dwellings were retrospectively revised to include the new categories of dwelling. Caravans, boats etc. not used as a permanent dwelling are shown according to the type of property (caravan, vehicle etc.).
Primary fires(no specific definition prior to 1994)
These are reportable fires (as listed below i) to vi)) or any fires involving casualties, rescues, or fires attended by five or more appliances regardless of its actual physical location. An appliance is counted if either the appliance, equipment from it or personnel riding it, were used to fight fire.
(ii) Caravans, trailers etc
(iii) Vehicles and other methods of transport (not derelict)
(iv) Outdoor storage, plant and machinery
(v) Agricultural and forestry premises and property
(vi) Other outdoor structures including post boxes, tunnels, bridges etc.
These are reportable fires that:
- were not in primary fire locations (before 1994 defined as a list of locations)
- were not chimney fires in buildings
- did not involve casualties or rescues
- were attended by four or fewer appliances. An appliance is counted if either the appliance, equipment from it or personnel riding on it, were used to fight the fire.
They are reported in less detail than other fires and consequently less information concerning them is available.
These are reportable fires in occupied buildings:
- where fire was confined within the chimney structure
- that did not involve casualties or rescues
- attended by four or fewer appliances
The term " outdoor fires" used in this Bulletin refers to primary and secondary fires in road vehicles, other outdoor property, derelict buildings and derelict vehicles and more minor refuse, grassland and intentional straw/stubble fires.
A person whose death is attributed to a fire is counted as a fatality even if death occurred weeks or months later - see section 5.2 for a more detailed discussion.
Non-fatal casualties consist of persons requiring medical treatment beyond first aid given at the scene of the fire, and those sent to hospital or advised to see a doctor for a check-up or observation (whether or not they actually do). People sent to hospital or advised to see a doctor as a precaution, having no obvious injury, are recorded as "precautionary check-ups".
Non-Fire and Rescue Service Casualties
Refers to fatal or non-fatal casualties involving persons who are not members of the fire and rescue service.
Fire and Rescue Service Casualties
Refers to fatal or non-fatal casualties involving fire and rescue service personnel.
A false alarm is defined as an event in which the fire and rescue service believes they are called to a reportable fire and then there is no such incident. False alarms are categorised as:
Malicious - the call was made with the intention of getting the fire and rescue service to attend a non-existent fire-related incident. This includes a 'deliberate' and 'suspected malicious' intentions.
Good Intent - the call was made in good faith in the belief that the fire and rescue service really would attend a fire.
Due to Apparatus - the call was initiated by fire alarm and fire fighting equipment operating (including accidental initiation of alarm apparatus by a person).
5.6.1 Symbols used in the tables are:
Nil or less than half the final digit shown.
Not available/Not applicable
5.7 Publications of fire statistics
Further statistical publications on fires include:
UK Fire Statistical Bulletins:
Summary Fire Statistics, United Kingdom, 2006
Fire Statistics, United Kingdom, 2005
Fire Statistics, United Kingdom, 2005
Fire Statistics, United Kingdom, 2004
Fire Statistics, United Kingdom, 2003
Scottish Fire Statistical Bulletins:
HM Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services: Annual Report 2006-2007 ( SE/2007/236)
Fire Statistics Scotland, 2005 (CrJ/2007/4)
HM Chief Inspector of Fire and Rescue Services: Annual Report 2005-2006 ( SE/2006/234)
Fire Statistics Scotland, 2004 (CrJ/2006/2)
HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland Report for 2004-2005 ( SE/2005/212)
Fire Statistics Scotland, 2003 (CrJ/2005/3)
HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland Report for 2003-2004 ( SE/2004/275)
Fire Statistics Scotland, 2002 (CrJ/2004/2)
HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland Report for 2002-2003 ( SE/2004/3)
The above publications report on the number of primary, secondary and chimney fires and casualties at fire and rescue service area/ Scotland level and are published by the Scottish Government. Copies of the above publications can be downloaded from the Scottish Government's website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/publications.
5.8 Industrial Action
5.8.1 Due to the industrial action by firefighters in November 2002 and January and February 2003 the reporting of fires for these days was disrupted. In total 15 24-hour periods were affected:
- From 18:00 on 13 th to 18:00 on 15 th November 2002 (2 days)
- From 09:00 on 22 nd to 09:00 on 30 th November 2002 (8 days)
- From 09:00 on 21 st to 09:00 on 22 nd January 2003 (1 days)
- From 09:00 on 28 th to 09:00 on 30 th January 2003 (2 days)
- From 09:00 on 1 st to 09:00 on 3 rd February 2003 (2 days)
5.8.2 Some information relating to this period has been received via data collected by the Ministry of Defence ( MOD) and also from special summary reports submitted by fire and rescue services.
5.8.3 In order to present the most accurate picture of the fires, casualties and false alarms which occurred in 2002 and 2003, in some cases estimates have been incorporated into the figures to account for missing information. These have been produced using comparable data for November 2001, January 2002 and February 2002. Information on the actual number of fatal casualties which occurred during the strike periods has been obtained from the MOD and media. For the more complex tables the figures are as reported by the fire and rescue service and therefore exclude any estimates for strike days. All the tables are footnoted accordingly.