Fire Statistics Scotland 2012-13

Statistical bulletin providing statistics on the incidents that Scotland's Fire and Rescue Services attended in 2012-13.

3. Changes to data collection and revision of data

3.1 Change in data collection

In April 2009, Scotland started to use the Incident Recording System (IRS); this is an electronic system which captures data for all incidents that Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) 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 fires involving fatal and non-fatal casualties were collected in full but other primary fires were sampled for data entry (re-typing into the database) 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 maintained the majority of main fire 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 the annex explaining this change.

3.2 Revisions on 2011-12 data

Since the introduction of IRS, Fire Statistics Scotland has been published using the most current year of data in provisional form. This allows us to provide timely data, which is then finalised in future publications. Prior to IRS data, finalising the dataset took up to two years, mainly due to investigations into fire casualties. A consultation of our data users in 2011-12 established that they felt that the benefits of a more timely publication on provisional data outweighed the provisional status of the data[1]. For this reason, we publish provisional data and have a revision policy in place for previous years' data (this is explained further in section 6.3.1). There can be some notable revisions in casualties but revisions in incidents are typically negligible at Scotland level.

In the Scottish publication, the provisional data in tables and charts will be annotated with a p. Where the data has been revised since last published - as in the case of 2010-11 and 2011-12 data, an r will be used to annotate tables and charts. Fatal and non-fatal casualties will be described as provisional throughout the body of this text, but for ease of reading, provisional figures for fires, false alarms and special services will not explicitly be described at each mention.

In 2011-12 the change between provisional and revised figures for incidents for Scotland was small (Table A) but there was a notable change for fatal casualties. This is to be expected as a number of fire investigations were still in process when the figures were provisionally published last year.

Table A: Changes due to revision of 2011-12 data


Number difference between first published and revised

Percentage difference between first published and revised

Primary fire



Secondary fires



False alarms



Chimney fires



Special services



Fatal casualties



Non-fatal casualties



3.3 Changes to IRS categories

In April 2012, there was an upgrade to the Incident Recording System (IRS). At this time there were some changes to some of the lower sub-categories for location, false alarms and special services.

The details of these changes can be found of the Department of Communities and Local Government Website:

Where changes to the lower sub-categories have affected tables' groupings then a caveat informing users will be supplied with the table. These changes have not affected the main categories used within this publication.

3.4 New tables

A new table has been introduced this year following a number of requests for the information - accidental dwelling fires by source of ignition, at a national level, have been included as Table 22 from 2009-10.


Email: Lindsay Bennison

Back to top