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Statistical Bulletin Crime and Justice Series: Fire Statistics Scotland, 2009-10, (2010-11 Provisional)


3. Changes to data collection and revision of data

This year the publication data source has changed. In April 2009, Scotland started to use the Incident Recording System ( IRS); this is an electronic system which captures all incidents that Scotland's Fire and Rescue Services attend. The main advantage of this system is that all incidents, including non-fire incidents, are recorded fully. Previously the data capture for national statistics meant that fatal and non-fatal casualties were collected in full but fires were sampled and weighted to fire and rescue services totals. Secondary fires were only collected as a monthly aggregated total and special services were not included.

The transfer to the new system has managed to maintain the majority of main trends even though the data capture system has increased the sub-categories collected. In some cases, the sub-categories cannot be matched between this system ( IRS) and the previous paper collection ( FDR1) and the trend data has been affected. Where this has happened this information has been noted with an asterisk (*) and a footnote is supplied that refers to a note in the annex explaining this change.

There are two important changes that affect the main trends:

  • There are criteria within the electronic form defining whether an incident is a primary or secondary fire. This has resulted in an increase in the number of primary outdoors fires ( Table 1: Road Vehicles and Other Primary fires). These are apparently not real increases but rather a small proportion of incidents are now coded as 'primary fires' which in the past would have been incorrectly recorded as being 'secondary fires' (see paragraph 6.3.3 for further detail).
  • Non-fatal casualty data is collected differently using the new IRS electronic system and the old paper system and this has created a discontinuity in the time series (see 6.3.3 ii for further explanation).

    Previously precautionary check-ups 1 accounted for about 50 per cent of all non-fatal casualties, this reduced with the introduction of IRS. IRS has also introduced a new category under 'Severity of injury' which is 'First aid given at scene'. Chart 2 illustrates that when precautionary check-ups are removed from the ten year data the trend increases slightly in 2009-10. This is due to the inclusion of first aid and this increase was expected. However the data including precautionary check-ups shows a distinct drop and should not compared with data before 2009-10. With non-fatal casualties being such an important statistic for community fire safety policies, it was decided not to exclude the previous nine years worth of data but to mark the tables with a break in trend. Also, to help with comparability, Table 2 now also includes the subset "Non-fatal casualties in primary fires, excluding precautionary check-ups".

Chart 2- Non-fatal casualties from primary fires including/excluding precautionary check-ups , Scotland 2000-01 to 2009-10r

Chart 2- Non-fatal casualties from primary fires including/excluding precautionary check-ups , Scotland 2000-01 to 2009-10r


r - revised

Revisions to data

"Fire Statistics Scotland, 2008-09 final (2009-10 provisional)" provided high level summary information for 2009-10 as provisional data. The 2009-10 data in this current publication has now been revised and data is considered up to date at time of publication. It is however still to be closed (see the revision policy section 6.3.1) as confirmation of casualties figures can be delayed due to fire investigations.

The table below provides the percentage change from the provisional data for 2009-10 published in "Fire Statistics Scotland, 2008-09 final (2009-10 provisional)" in October 2010 to the data supplied in this publication.

Change in percentage

Primary fire


Secondary fires


False Alarms


Special Services


Fatal casualties


Non-fatal casualties