Fewer house fires, fewer people hurt

The number of people injured in West Midlands house fires in the first six months of 2012/13 was almost half that of the same period the year before.

Figures from West Midlands Fire Service reveal that 23 people were hurt and went to hospital as a result of accidental fires at home, which was down 48 per cent from a total of 44 in April-September 2011.

There were no fatal house fires in the first two quarters of 2012/13, following ten deaths in the same six-month period in 2011.

Although there were 46 more accidental fires at non-domestic premises such as shops and factories (up from 293 in the first six months of 2011/12), there were 79 fewer accidental fires in people’s homes - a drop of nine per cent to 804. Cooking remained the main cause.

Meanwhile, cases of arson also showed significant falls. There was a 50 per cent drop in such incidents involving non-domestic premises (83 compared to 165), while arson of people’s homes and of vehicles both dropped by 36 per cent to 133 and 290.

Within West Midlands Fire Service, staff sickness levels showed continuing improvements. The average number of days lost because of illness across the whole organisation was 2.4 in April-September, compared with 6.0 a year earlier. For non-uniformed and Fire Control staff it was 3.7 (down from 10.3), while for operational staff it was 2.0 (down from 4.7).

The figures were presented to the latest meeting of the Scrutiny Committee of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Keith Chambers, said: “Fewer house fires and fewer people being hurt is very welcome news. I’d also like to congratulate all staff on the falling sickness levels throughout the service. These are impressive achievements, reflecting a determination to keep the region safe in spite of significant cuts to the service’s funding.”

Phil Loach, Deputy Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands, who presented the figures to the committee, said: “Our performance indicators show that we’re continuing to improve and to meet targets in several areas. They’re a testimony not only to the hard work of our staff, but to our many partner agencies with whom we work daily to keep the West Midlands safe.”

Ends

Media note: Issued by Neil Spencer, Senior Media Relations Officer, West Midlands Fire Service, tel 0121 380 6101. On Twitter we’re @WestMidsFire.

Press Release Date: 
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 19:45