The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has issued a statement to say it is “horrified” at the increase in people dying in fires, after the Home Office put out new statistics on fire incidents in England.
The statistics, which are for the period 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017, show there were 346 fire-related fatalities, compared with 253 in the previous year, an increase of 37%.
The report includes figures from the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 - previously figures were been based on estimates made by the Metropolitan Police Force.
The revised statistics conclude that there were 71 fire related fatalities, 109 non-fatal casualties, including 67 classified as ‘hospital severe’, 31 ‘precautionary checks.’
The FBU say that even with the Grenfell deaths removed from the total, there were still 22 more people dying in fires than the year before.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “All we hear from government when they attempt justification of butchering the fire and rescue service is that ‘fires are down’ – this is now clearly no longer a claim they can make. They wrote off last year’s rise in fires as a ‘blip’ – what will they put it down to this year?
“It isn’t complicated – the fire and rescue service is cut to the bone, and the result is more people dying in fires because crews can no longer respond promptly and in sufficient numbers to tackle fires professionally, quickly and effectively. How many more rises in these worrying figures before they join up the dots? How many more people are going to have to die?
“On the day of the publication of these figures, we again call for investment, not more cuts. We can’t make it any plainer.”
Total number of fires attended have fallen steeply in the decade from 2003/04 (474,000) to 2012/12 (154,000 fires), but have ‘remained broadly stable’ since, says the report.
Still, the previous year measured is a nine percent increase in numbers of fires attended. Around 171,000 fires were attended in 2017, compared with the previous year ending September 2016. The last year is also the highest value recorded since 2013/14 (171,345).
The report was published on 8 February. The Home Office now publishes fire statistics quarterly, rather than six monthly or annually as it did previous to Grenfell. The next quarterly release is due for publication in May 2018, covering the year ending December 2017.
Fire and rescue incidents report: https://tinyurl.com/yc54kd2v
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