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SCOTTISH FIRE STATISTICS PUBLISHED

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Statistics published today reveal that in Scotland there were a total of 103 fatal casualties in 2001 - an increase...
Statistics published today reveal that in Scotland there were a total of 103 fatal casualties in 2001 - an increase on the figures from 2000 of 28 fatal casualties or 37 per cent but still just under the number in 1999. In comparison to the other UK countries, Scotland reported both the highest number of fatal casualties per million population and the highest rate of non-fatal casualties (to those not working for fire brigades) per million population.

Fire Statistics Scotland, 2001presents detailed data on fires for the eight Scottish fire brigades and provides a detailed overview of Scottish fire statistics over the past decade.

Other main findings include:

There were 59,400 total fires (primary, secondary and chimney) in Scotland in 2001, an increase of 7 per cent on the 55,700 fires recorded in 2000.

Around one-third of all fires were primary fires. Sixty-five per cent of primary fires were in buildings, 29 per cent were road vehicle fires and the remaining primary fires were other outdoors fires. Just over three-fifths of all fires were secondary fires and the remaining 6 per cent were chimney fires.

Since 2000, primary fires have fallen by 2 per cent, whilst secondary fires have risen by 12 per cent and chimney fires increased by 10 per cent in 2001.

Over the past decade total Scottish secondary fires have risen by 55 per cent. The principal categories of secondary fires that this rise can be attributed to are an increase in grassland & heathland fires and an increase in refuse fires.

The principal cause of fatal casualties was being overcome by gas and smoke (42 fatal casualties). 31 fatal casualties were caused by a combination of burns and being overcome by smoke and 22 fatal casualties were caused by burns alone. 88 fatal casualties (85 per cent) occurred in dwellings fires and 12 (12 per cent) occurred in road vehicles.

The number of non-fatal casualt ies in Scotland in 2001 was 2,091, a decrease of 8 per cent compared with 2000. Of these non-fatal casualties; 1,799 occurred in dwellings fires (86 per cent), 171 (8 per cent) occurred in other buildings and 71 (3 per cent) occurred in road vehicles.

In the years since 1994, the majority of fatal casualties have occurred in dwellings fires where either the smoke detector was present but failed to operate or in dwellings fires where a smoke detector was absent.

There were 8,806 malicious primary fires in 2001, representing 45 per cent of total primary fires in 2001 - the highest percentage of primary fires in the last 10 years. However accidental fires have caused significantly more fatal and non-fatal casualties over the decade.

In 2001, total fire false alarms in Scotland constituted 53,800 incidents, representing just under half (48 per cent) of total call outs to fires (primary, secondary and chimney) and false fire alarms.

In 2001, the majority of fatal and non-fatal casualties generally occur from early afternoon through to early morning (approx. 3pm to 2am) which is similar to the majority of call outs to fires.

Data for the eight Scottish fire brigades have been collated and reported by the Scottish Executive in the form of a dedicated Scottish fire statistics bulletin. This new bulletin is intended to provide a detailed overview of Scottish fire statistics over the past decade, at brigade and Scotland level with comparison to the other UK regions.

'Location' is a term used in the statistical collection to denote a combination of the type of fire ('primary', 'secondary' and 'chimney') and the type of premises, property or countryside in which the fire started.

This is explained below in more detail;

Primary fires: If a fire involves a casualty or rescue or is attended by five or more appliances then it is classed as a primary fire, regardless of its actual physical location. However a fire may also be classed as primary if it occurs in any of the f ollowing types of premises or property: buildings (not derelict, not under demolition); caravans; vehicles and other methods or transport (not derelict); outdoor storage, plant and machinery or agricultural or forestry premises and property.

Secondary fires: Always involve no casualties or rescues and are attended by four or fewer appliances. A fire is also not classed as secondary if it is a chimney fire (defined below).

Chimney fires: Always involve no casualties or rescues and are attended by four or fewer appliances. They only occur in occupied buildings where the fire was contained within the chimney structure.

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