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Fire Statistics Scotland, 2007

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2. Main Points

  • In 2007, the total number of fires in Scotland was 45,912, 9 per cent lower than in 2006 (50,520). Of these fires, 13,805 (30 per cent) were primary fires, 30,552 (67 per cent) were secondary fires and 1,555 (3 per cent) were chimney fires.
  • The number of primary fires fell for the eighth consecutive year. There was also a decrease in both secondary fires (10 per cent) and chimney fires (8 per cent) compared to 2006.
  • Over two-thirds (70 per cent) of primary fires were in buildings, 23 per cent were road vehicle fires and the remaining primary fires were other outdoor fires. The most common secondary fires were refuse fires (73 per cent) and grassland fires (15 per cent).
  • In Scotland, there were a total of 59 fatal casualties in 2007 - a rise of 7 (13 per cent) on the figure for 2006 but still the second lowest figure in the 10 years covered by this publication. Forty three (73 per cent) fatal casualties in 2007 occurred in dwellings fires and seven (12 per cent) were in road vehicles.
  • The number of non-fatal casualties in Scotland in 2007 was 1,722, an increase of 5 per cent compared with 2006. Of these non-fatal casualties, 1,530 (89 per cent) occurred in dwellings fires, 112 (7 per cent) in other buildings and 59 (3 per cent) in road vehicles.
  • In comparison to the other UK countries, Scotland reported the highest number of fatal casualties per million population and the highest rate of non-fatal casualties per million population. The Scottish rate of fatal casualties per 1,000 dwelling fires is more similar to the rates in England and Wales. This suggests the reason for Scotland's higher overall casualty rate per million population reflects a higher risk of dwellings fires rather than a greater likelihood of a casualty occurring in such fires.
  • The biggest cause of fatal casualties was being overcome by gas or smoke (25 fatal casualties, or 42 per cent). A further 19 (32 per cent) fatal casualties were caused by a combination of burns and being overcome by gas or smoke, and 8 (14 per cent) fatal casualties were caused by burns alone.
  • Of the 40 fatal casualties in accidental dwellings fires, the most common main source of ignition was smokers' materials and matches which was the source in 20 fatalities (up from 10 in 2006), followed by cooking appliances (5 fatalities).
  • There were 4,925 deliberate primary fires in 2007, representing 36 per cent of the total. These deliberate fires caused 10 fatalities and 377 non-fatal casualties. However, the pattern of accidental fires causing significantly more fatal and non-fatal casualties than deliberate fires has held throughout the past decade.
  • Over the 10 years covered by this bulletin, 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.