Fire and Rescue Service Statistics, Scotland 2012-13

Statistical bulletin providing statistics on Scotland Fire and Rescue Services workforce, stations, equipment, fire safety and attacks on Fire and Rescue Service personnel at incidents.

4. Commentary

Fire Stations

Fire stations in Scotland have been classified in the following manner: Wholetime, Retained Duty System (RDS), Volunteer and Day. The classification relates to the primary staffing of these stations. For example, if Wholetime and RDS crew the same station is will be recorded as Wholetime.

4.1. Number of Fire Stations (Table 1, 1a and 1b)

On the 31st March 2013 there were 359 fire stations in Scotland. Of these, 74 were primarily wholetime crewed, 238 RDS, 43 Volunteer and 4 Day crewed.

Strathclyde FRS had the highest number of stations with 110, followed by Highland and Islands with 102. These FRSs cover the biggest two geographical areas in Scotland.

Highlands and Islands stations decreased from 115 to 102 during 2012-13, 10 of these stations were volunteer and 3 were RDS.

The majority of stations in Scotland are RDS crewed (66 %), then Wholetime (21 %), Volunteer (12 %) and finally Day (1%) (Chart 1).

Of the 74 Wholetime stations, the majority are in Strathclyde (51 %) followed by Lothian and Borders (18 %).

Chart 1 - Scotland's Fire Stationsby crewing type as at 31 March 2013

Chart 1 - Scotland's Fire Stationsby crewing type as at 31 March 2013

4.2. Type of Equipment (Table 2)

Scotland's FRSs had 620 operational vehicles as of the 31 March 2013. There were 449 pumping appliances, constituting 72 % of all operational vehicles. Strathclyde (196), followed by Highlands and Islands (141) had the largest numbers of operational vehicles, which is to be expected as together they have 59 % of the stations in Scotland.

There were 895 non-operational vehicles in Scotland, of which 90 were reserve or training appliances (10 %).


4.3. Number of Staff (Table 3, 3a, 4 and 4a)

Table 3 shows the headcount of staff at FRS level, as of the 31 March 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The headcount figures do not take into consideration individuals' working hours, but this is supplied in Table 4 for 31 March 2012 and 2013.

The figures for RDS for 2009-10 and 2010-11 have been realigned with the new collection methodology, more information on this can be found in section 6.2.2.

The total headcount of FRS staff (including volunteers) decreased by 76 staff (or 1 %) to 8,964 between 2012 and 2013. The largest decrease was amongst support staff reducing by 51, followed by volunteers by 42 and wholetime operational by 7. (Chart 2). RDS staff numbers increased by 24 between 31 March 2012 and 2013 whilst control staff remained constant at 234.

Chart 2 - Scotland's Fire and Rescue Services Headcount by type of staffing - as of the 31st March of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013

Chart 2 - Scotland's Fire and Rescue Services Headcount by type of staffing - as of the 31st March of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013

This is the second year that full time equivalent (FTE) information was collected on FRS staff (apart from volunteers). The FTE is based on the contract on which the person is employed. For example, if the member of staff is employed part time on a RDS contract, the FTE will be based on the FRS standard RDS contract, not for example the wholetime operational contract.

When volunteers are excluded from the total FRS staff figures, the comparison for 2012-13 is 8,089.4 FTE against 8,547 headcount. Table A shows that in the FRS, part-time employment is most prevalent within RDS and support staffing.

FTE staff has decreased by 67.4 (FTE staff) between 2011-12 and 2012-13 - a drop of 1 %, this is the same percentage change as the change in the headcount figures for these 2 years.

Table A - Scotland's Fire and Rescue Services staffing by Headcount and Full-time equivalent (FTE) - 31 March 2013

Staffing Type Headcount FTE
Wholetime operational 4,151 4,151.0
Retained Duty System (RDS) 3,076 2,787.3
Control 234 224.4
Support staff 1,086 926.7
All staff (excluding volunteers) Total 8,547 8,089.4

4.4 Gender (Tables 5, 5a, 5b and 6)

In 2012-13 headcount figures, the gender split was 86.7 % male and 13.3 % female.

Of the 1,190 female staff, the majority (51 %) were working in the support staff category. Whereas of the 7,774 male staff, the majority, 51 %, were working as wholetime operational staff (Chart 3). These majorities have been consistent over the last 4 years of the data collection.

There has been a reduction of female staff overall in Scotland: from 1,240 in 2011-12 to 1,190 in 2012-13 - a decrease of 50 staff (4 %). Over the same period male staff decreased by 26 (0.3%). The majority of the decrease in female staff occurred in the support staff category, which is the largest area of female employment in the FRSs.

Chart 3 - Percentage of staffing type by gender as at 31 March 2013 - Scotland

Chart 3 - Percentage of staffing type by gender as at 31 March 2013 - Scotland

Note: percentages calculated on headcount

Within the different staffing types in the FRSs as at 31 March 2013, the proportion of females was highest in control rooms at 87 % (203 out of 234) whereas the proportion of males was highest in wholetime operational staffing at 96 % (3,993 out of 4,151). The highest proportions in these staff types for gender have been consistent over the last 4 years of the data collection.

4.5 Age (Tables 7, 7a and 7b)

The age bands chosen for the figures have been selected to reflect the different retirement possibilities for FRS personnel; this is why unequal age range intervals have been used (Table 7 and 7a). A more comprehensive definition of retirement ages can be found in paragraph 6.3.9. The main distinction is that wholetime operational and RDS staff, involved in a fire fighting capacity, can retire before the age of 60, depending on their role and number of years' service. Control staff and other support staff follow the national guidelines for retirement age in recent UK government pension legislation.

The overall figures for Scotland show that 42 % (3,798) of all FRS staff were in the 40-49 age range, with 27 % (2,441) within the 30-39 age range, followed by 19 % (1,671) in the 50 and over age range and finally 12 % (1,054) were under 30 years old.

For each of the staffing types the highest proportion of personnel was within the 40-49 age range, apart from 'support staff' where 41 % of staff were 50 years old and over (Chart 4). As expected, wholetime operational staff had the lowest percentage of staff in the 50 and over age range (11 %), due to retirement arrangements for operational staff.

Chart 4 - Percentage of age range within each type of Fire and Rescue Service staffing as at 31 March 2013

Chart 4 - Percentage of age range within each type of Fire and Rescue Service staffing as at 31 March 2013

Note: percentages calculated on headcount

4.6 Ethnicity and Disability (Tables 8 and 9)

As of 31 March 2013, 0.6 % of Scotland's FRS staff were recorded as belonging to an ethnic minority group. Within the five staffing categories the highest proportion of ethnic minority staff was in support staff at 1.0 % and the lowest, at 0.2 %, in RDS staff.

There were 19.3 % of staff whose ethnic category was recorded as "Not Stated" in this year's return, a decrease from 25 % in 2011-12.

As of 31 March 2013, 0.6 % of Scotland's FRS staff were recorded as having a disability. Within the five staffing categories the highest proportion of disabled staff was control staff (2.1%) and the lowest was RDS staff (0.3 %).

Attacks on Fire and Rescue Personnel

4.7 Attacks and Personnel Injured (Tables 10, 10a, 10b, 11, 11a and 11b)

The Incident Recording System (IRS) collects information on incidents that Scotland's FRSs attend. The number of incidents where attacks on FRSs personnel occurred is recorded. For example, if items were thrown at 3 fire appliances in one incident, this attack would be recorded as one incident, not 3 attacks. However, the number of personnel injured is recorded individually, so if 2 injuries occurred at 1 incident this would be recorded as 2 and not 1.

In 2012-13, there were 80 incidents recorded where attacks occurred, a decrease of 32 incidents from last year. However, the number of personnel injured in attacks at incidents increased by 3 to a total of 4 in 2012-13.

The most common type of attack in 2012-13 was 'Objects thrown at fire fighters and/or appliances' with 42 incidents. 'Objects thrown' has been consistently the highest type of attack in the 4 years of reporting.

In 2011-12, Scotland's FRSs attended 91,051 incidents, attacks occurred at 0.12 % of these incidents. At the time of this publication, incident information for 2012-13 was not available.

Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV)

Fire prevention is an important part of Scotland's FRSs work, it is a main element of integrated risk management planning (IRMP). The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 places a statutory duty on each FRS to promote fire safety. This involves carrying out work to prevent fires in the community. Initiatives include Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV), youth engagement, working with other agencies to identify those at risk of fire in the home, community road shows, media campaigns etc.

Each FRS has a community fire safety policy tailored to local needs, for example, if there has been a spate of deliberate fire-raising in an area, the local priority may be to carry out youth engagement activity, whereas another area may have identified working with other agencies to perform HFSV as their priority.

For a HFSV, FRS personnel visit members of the public in their own homes, help people assess the risk of fire within their dwelling, provide fire safety advice and may install smoke alarms where needed. HFSV form a major part of the prevention work of the FRS and are a consistent component in all Scotland's FRS community safety work. Therefore reporting on HFSV is one of the few elements of this wide-ranging area of work that can be reported consistently at a national level.

The data was collected in 2 categories: HFSV with smoke alarm installed and HFSV- advice only.

4.8 Home Fire Safety Visits (Tables 12 and 12a)

In 2012-13, there were 56,251 HFSVs carried out by Scotland's FRSs. In 2011-12 there were 56,545, there has been a decrease of 1 % between the 2 years.

Of the 56,251 HFSVs in 2012-13, at least one smoke alarm was installed during 46 % of these visits.

The total number of smoke alarms installed in 2012-13 was 44,122. In HFSVs where smoke alarms were installed, the average number of alarms installed was 1.7.

In 2012-13, there were 22 HFSVs carried out for every thousand dwellings in Scotland, or 1 HFSV for every 45 dwellings (Chart 5).

Chart 5 - Ratio of HFSV to Dwellings in 2012-13

Chart 5 - Ratio of HFSV to Dwellings in 2012-13

Note: Out of the 45 dwellings, the yellow house represents a dwelling which had a HFSV.

Non-Domestic Fire Safety

In the data provided on non-domestic fire safety audits, it is important to note that there is variability within each premises category due to the size and nature of premises, number of employees and/or occupants, use of building and level of fire risk. There is also variability in fire safety policies between FRSs. Each FRS decides which premises to audit each year; these decisions are made using various methods and the FRSs' knowledge and experience of the premises within their own geographical area. FRSs' fire safety audits are normally targeted at higher risk premises. This publication contains data from the fourth year of this collection. Due to the variability of FRSs policies, trends over time for individual FRSs are more useful than comparing across the eight FRSs.

All fire safety audits reported in this publication reached a 'compliant'1 outcome and were closed in 2012-13. Any audits that were still open at the end of the financial year 2012-13 will roll into 2013-14 and the hours will be included in the year the audit was closed, when the FRS is satisfied that the premises has achieved the relevant level of compliance.

4.9 Premises (Tables 13, 13a and 13b)

There were 142,822 non-domestic premises known to FRSs in Scotland for 2012-13. This has decreased by 993 premises from 143,815 in 2011-12.

The FRSs audit these premises on the basis of a structured programme depending on their own non-domestic fire safety policy. Six per cent of known non-domestic premises for Scotland were reported as having a completed compliant fire safety audit in 2012-13.

In Scotland, 71.3 % of care homes (1,454) were audited in 2012-13, whereas 1.5 % of offices (389) were audited. (Chart 6)

Chart 6 - Percentage of known non-domestic premises audited in Scotland, 2012-13

Chart 6 - Percentage of known non-domestic premises audited in Scotland, 2012-13

4.10 Fire Safety Audits, Enforcement and Prohibition Notices (Tables 14, 14a, 15a, 15b, 15c and 15d)

In this publication, all hours are reported in decimals.

The number of hours completed on audits has decreased from 49,969 in 2011-12 to 40,728 in 2012-13, though the number of overall completed audits had increased by 439 in the same time period. FRSs have explained that these changes were partly due to fire safety policies being more embedded, improvements in training and changes to IT systems.

The number of hours completed on enforcement and prohibition notices has decreased from 412 in 2011-12 to 350 in 2012-13.

For this publication a Type A audit is one where a premises has achieved compliant status after the initial fire safety audit is completed. Type B audits are those where the premises have not achieved the compliant status after the initial fire safety audit and further work is required by the FRS to assist the person responsible for the premises to make the premises compliant. A FRS may feel that a more formal action is required after a non-compliant audit and may issue a notice.

In 2012-13, there were 7,994 fire safety audits completed; of these, 90 % were Type A and 10 % Type B. Further Education were the premises with the highest percentage of Type A audits (98 %) and the lowest was 'Licensed premises' at 85 % (Chart 7).

Chart 7 - Percentage of Type A and Type B audits completed in 2012-13 by type of premises - Scotland

Chart 7 - Percentage of Type A and Type B audits completed in 2012-13 by type of premises - Scotland

In 2012-13, the average time spent on Type A audits over all the types of premises audited was 4.8 hours, whereas a Type B audit took on average 7.5 hours. The premises with the highest average times for Type A audits were 'other premises open to the public' at 7.1 hours, whereas the lowest was for 'other sleeping accommodation' at 3.1 hours.

The highest average times for Type B audits were for 'other sleeping accommodation' at 16.8 hours, whereas the lowest average time was 'further education' at 1.0 hour (there was only 1 further education premises with a Type B audit).

There were 43 enforcement notices issued, with the largest number (19) being issued against hotels. In total, 250.5 hours were spent on enforcement notices across Scotland, with an average of 5.8 hours per premises

There were 22 prohibition notices issued, with the largest number (10) being issued against shops. The total number of hours spent on creating a prohibition notice was 99.75 hours with an average of 4.5 hours per premises.

There were no court appeals brought against enforcement and prohibition notices.

4.11 Alteration Notices and Prosecutions (Table 16)

During 2012-13, 6 alterations notices were issued by Scotland's FRSs and with 1 withdrawal of notice. At the end of 2012-13, there were 13 alterations notices in force. There were notices on the following type of properties: 1 on a care homes, 4 on hotels, 2 licensed premises, 2 on schools, 1 on a shop, 1 on a factory/warehouse and 2 on offices.

In 2012-13, there were no non-domestic fire safety prosecutions in Scotland.

4.12 Risk rating on Non-Domestic Premises (Tables 17, 17a and 17b)

The information in this publication uses the FSEC (Fire Service Emergency Cover Toolkit) software methodology which provides scientifically-derived, consistent risk levels and is used by all Scotland's FRSs. This software has been used to produce statistics on the risk level of the premises where fire safety audits have been carried out. Different occupancy types will generate different risk levels due to the underlying risk calculations. Table B below shows the risk levels that the premises may achieve2, for example, hospitals tend to range from 'well above average' to 'average' risk. Using the FSEC methodology, a hospital tends not appear as a 'below' or 'well below average' risk i.e. the relative risks of premises should not be occurring in the shaded out areas.

Table B: Template of risk for non-domestic premises types

Table B: Template of risk for non-domestic premises types


Table B has been updated from the 2011-12 publication to correct the shading for 3 categories - please see section 6.2.6 for more detail.

Chart 6 shows the percentage of known premises audited in 2012-13. Over 30% of care homes, hospitals, hotels and hostels were audited in 2012-13. From Table B we can see that these types of premises tend to higher risk levels. Less than 3% of known factories or warehouse, other workplaces and offices were audited in 2012-13. Again from Table B, we can see these premises tend to have lower risk.

In 2012-13, of the 7,994 non-domestic premises audited in Scotland the largest percentage, 55 %, were of 'average' risk, 17 % were 'above average' and 1 % were 'well above average'.

Chart 8 shows the percentage of risk within each type of premises audited

Chart 8 - Percentage of risk within type of audited premises in 2012-13 - Scotland

Chart 8 - Percentage of risk within type of audited premises in 2012-13 - Scotland

Looking at the percentages of audits within each premises type:

More than 15% of the audits carried out in schools and shops were in the 'well below average' risk category. At the other end of the scale, more than 1% of the audits in hospitals, public buildings and other workplaces were classified as 'well above average' risk (Chart 8).

More than 20 % of audits in hospitals, care homes, hostels and other sleeping accommodation were in the 'above average' risk category'.

More than 30 % of schools, offices and other workplaces fell into the 'below average' risk category.

The premises types which had over 20 % of audits within the 'above average ' or 'well above average' were hospitals, care homes, hostels and other sleeping premises.

In Scotland, 487 premises that were audited had risk levels that fell outside of their expected risk profile. Of these 155 were recorded as 'above average' or 'well above average' risk.

When the data is analysed within the risk categories

Of the 7,994 premises audited, 463 fell within the 'well below average' risk category. The highest proportion of the 463 were shops at 44%. Care homes formed the highest proportion of 'below average' category (21 %).

Over half the premises audited fell in the 'average' risk category (4,359 premises). Hotels, shops and care homes accounted for over 50% of the audit premises within this category (28 %, 15 % and 14 % respectively).

Of the audits carried out in the 'above average' risk category, about 50% fell into two premises types: care homes and hotels (26 % and 24 % respectively).

In the 'well above average' risk category, hospitals formed the largest proportion at 23 %, followed by shops at 21 %.

(Tables 17, 17a and 17b provide national information - individual FRS information can be found in the excel tables supplied alongside this publication).

4.13 Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) (Table 18) (Experimental Statistics)

The definition used for Houses in Multiple Occupation this year is from Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, part 5, which defines an HMO as:

"That a dwelling is an HMO if at least three people live there; and the people who live there belong to three or more families and they share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet. The owner of the property should have a licence from the local authority."

The most current Housing Statistics for Scotland - Houses in Multiple Occupation web tables for 31st March 2012 show there were 13,356 HMO licenses in force in Scotland on this day3 of which 64% were flats or houses.

Non-domestic premises are reported in this publication according to the FSEC categories. However, as discussed, HMOs are reported using a different definition and so will be reported separately. Under the Housing (Scotland) Act most HMO licenses are primarily domestic, however, for the purposes of fire safety legislation only, they are classed as non-domestic. Because fire safety audits in licensed HMOs form a major part of FRSs' fire safety policies, it was felt important that the data should continue to be included in this publication.

The fire safety audit statistical reporting on licensed HMOs is the same as other non-domestic premises, therefore the guidance relating to them is the same in this publication.

Central, Grampian, Highlands and Islands, Strathclyde and Tayside FRSs undertake all fire safety audit work for licensed HMOs. Other FRSs have different partnership arrangements with their local authorities. Some local authorities have arrangements with the FRS whereby local authority HMO enforcement officers, or seconded fire officers working in the department carried out fire safety checks during the licensing inspection of HMOs. Under this arrangement, the FRSs could target resources on complex premises or where there were fire safety infringements. These FRSs may therefore have recorded a smaller number or percentage of fire safety audits in HMOs compared with their counterparts.

In 2012-13, there were 3,412 fire safety audits on licensed HMOs in Scotland. They took 10,384 hours, giving an average audit time for a licensed HMO of 3.0 hours.

There were 3 enforcement notices issued and 4 prohibition notices. At the end of 2012-13, there were 2 alteration notices in force.


Email: Lindsay Bennison

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