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FIRE DEATHS FALL TO LOWEST LEVEL FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS

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The number of people who die each year in fires fell to its lowest level for nearly 30 years according to Home Offi...
The number of people who die each year in fires fell to its lowest level for nearly 30 years according to Home Office figures released today.

Figures show that 720 people died in fires in 1993 compared to 807 in 1992. The number of casualties also fell from 14,720 to 14,625 over the same period.

Research in Fire Statistics United Kingdom 1993 also shows that domestic smoke alarms detect fire more quickly, limit damage and save lives.

Home Office minister Lady Blatch said:

'One death from fire is one too many. However these are welcome figures showing the continuing fall in the number of lives lost to fire.

'Three quarters of fire related deaths occurred in the home. It is important that everyone heeds fire safety advice to minimise the risk of fire.'

Main findings reveal that:

- fire brigades attended 451,500 fires in the UK in 1993, six per cent more than in 1992

- the number of domestic fires discovered by smoke alarms more than quadrupled between 1988 and 1993

- there were three deaths per 1,000 fires discovered by smoke alarms compared with nine deaths per 1,000 fires for fires not discovered by smoke alarms

- misuse of appliances such as cookers remained the largest single cause of accidental building fires. The careless handling of fire or hot substances (eg smokers' materials) caused the largest number of deaths

- road vehicle fires fell by four per cent

- the number of malicious road vehicle fires fell for the first time by three per cent

- the number of false fire alarms rose to 456,000, 42% of which were made with good intent. The number of malicious false alarms fell for the first time to 155,000

Research from the 1994 British Crime Survey is also contained in the publication. This estimated that:

- fire brigades attended approximately 8-16% of household fires

- the majority of fires not attended by brigades were less serious kitchen fires which did not require the attendance of the fire brigade

- Living conditions, the number of people in the household and people's behaviour all affected the level of fire risk

Lady Blatch said:

'The best advice if fire breaks out remains - Get out, get the brigade out, stay out!

'Fire should only be tackled if it is in its very early stages and if it is safe to do so.

'These figures prove the merit of smoke alarms. They give homeowners vital early warning of fire, allowing occupants extra seconds to escape.

'They make for an effective, frontline defence against fire.'

- National Fire Safety Week which promotes fire safety in the home and workplace is to be held between 25-30 September. This annual event is organised by the Home Office and Fire Protection Association.

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