Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14

Statistical bulletin providing the latest statistics on fires, special service incidents, casualties and false alarms attended by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

5. Glossary of terms

Details of the questions and categories used in the recording of incidents under the new IRS are available in the document IRS Questions and Lists.

Accidental: Includes fires where the fire was ignited by accident, or where the cause was not known or unspecified.

Alcohol/drugs: SFRS can record instances where they suspect that a person being impaired due to alcohol and/or drugs was a contributory factor to a fire.

Appliance: A Fire and Rescue vehicle used to transport crew and equipment to incidents, excluding officers' cars.

Buildings: All buildings, including those under construction, but excluding derelict buildings or those under demolition. Prior to 1994 'buildings' were referred to as 'occupied buildings'.

Dwellings: 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 the purpose of reporting fires) 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). 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.).

Chimney fires: Reported fires in occupied buildings:

- where the fire was confined within the chimney structure;
- that did not involve casualties or rescues; and
- attended by less than five appliances.

Cause of fire: The defect, act or omission leading to ignition of the fire.

Deliberate: Includes fires where deliberate ignition is merely suspected, and recorded by the SFRS as "doubtful".

False Alarm: An event in which the SFRS believe they have been called to a reportable fire or special service incident and then there is no such incident. False alarms are categorised as:

- Malicious - the call was made with the intention of getting the SFRS to attend a non-existent incident. This includes 'deliberate' and 'suspected malicious' intentions;

- Good intent - the call was made in good faith in the belief that the SFRS really would attend an incident;

- Due to apparatus (fire incidents only) - the call was initiated by fire alarm and fire fighting equipment operating (including accidental initiation of alarm apparatus by a person).

Fatal casualty (fires): Any fatal casualty which is the direct or indirect result of injuries caused by a fire incident. Even if the fatal casualty dies subsequently, any fatality whose cause is attributed to a fire is included. There are also occasional cases where it transpires subsequently that fire was not the cause of death. For all of these reasons, fatalities data may therefore be subject to revision.

Fire and Rescue Service casualties: Fatal or non-fatal casualties involving FRS personnel on duty.

Fire Damage Reports (FDR1 and FDR3): The method of data collection via paper forms prior to the Incident Recording System (April 2009). FDR1 was used to record primary fires, FDR3 for secondary fires, chimney fires and false alarms.

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. All heat and/or smoke damage only incidents are counted as fires in this publication.

Late fire call: (no specific definition prior to 1994)
A fire attended by the SFRS which was known to be extinguished when the call was made (or to which no call was made) and the fire came to the attention of the SFRS by other means. Late fire calls are counted as fires in this publication.

Location: 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.

Non-fatal casualty (fires): Persons in fires who were:

- given first aid at the scene;

- referred to hospital to see a doctor for injuries (either serious or slight ); or

- advised to see a doctor for a precautionary check, whether or not they actually did.

Non-Fire and Rescue Service casualty: Fatal or non-fatal casualties involving persons who are not members of the FRS.

Outdoor fires: The term 'outdoor fires' used in this publication refers to primary and secondary fires in road vehicles, other outdoor property, derelict buildings, derelict vehicles and refuse, grassland and intentional straw/stubble fires.

Precautionary check: A precautionary check is when an individual is sent to hospital or advised to see a doctor as a precaution, having no obvious injury or distress (see definition for 'non-fatal casualty' above).

Primary fires: Include all fires in non-derelict buildings and most outdoor structures, or any fires involving casualties or rescues, or any fires attended by five or more appliances.

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 SFRS attend.

Secondary fires: The majority of outdoor fires including grassland and refuse fires unless they involve casualties or rescues, property loss, or if five or more appliances attend. They include fires in derelict buildings but not chimney fires.

Source of ignition: The source of the flame, spark or heat that started the fire.

Special services: Special service incidents are non-fire incidents requiring the attendance of an appliance or officer. The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 placed a statutory duty on former FRSs (and now SFRS) to make provision for firefighting and road traffic accidents. It also included an additional function order that covers non-fire incidents such as rescues from collapsed buildings and serious flooding (Table 6 shows the special service categories included in the publication).

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.


Email: Phillipa Haxton

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