Work to reduce deaths and injuries is ‘paying dividends’

Tue 5 Dec, 2017

Fire engines at incident

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s staff have been praised in a report summarising key statistics for the last financial year.

The organisation’s Annual Performance Monitor, presented to a meeting of Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority’s Overview and Audit Committee, highlights the following figures: 

  • Accidental fires in people’s homes reduced by 16 per cent, from 362 in 2015/16 to 305 in 2016/17. This is in spite of a growing population and a steady stream of new housing.

  • Fire-related fatalities and injuries have both reduced, meaning numbers for both remain very low (two and 17 respectively).

  • The average attendance time, which was 8 minutes 32 seconds in 2015/16, has gone down by 10 seconds.

  • More than 90 per cent of our customers are very satisfied with our services. Every year, people involved in incidents at domestic and non-domestic premises - except where a fatality, serious injury or significant damage has occurred – are invited to take part in an independent survey. The number of respondents has also increased this year, with 366 responses in relation to domestic incidents and 309 in relation to non-domestic, compared with 291 and 227 respectively during 2015/16.

  • Of the 22 combined fire authorities in England, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Fire Authority continues to charge the lowest amount of council tax. The current band D charge for the year is £60.88. A combined fire authority is one that covers a combination of county and/or unitary authority areas.

While the overall position is good, there are areas in which we report a less positive picture. For example, the number of deliberate primary fires has increased by six per cent, from 494 to 524. A primary fire is one which occurs in property or non-derelict vehicle and/or involves casualties or five or more fire appliances.

Within the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service is working with the police and neighbouring fire and rescue services to help address this by improving our data-sharing and pooling statistics. 

There has also been an increase in the number of false alarms attended, which is to be expected with the associated increase in the number of new developments in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

Area Commander Julian Parsons, Head of Service Development, said: “While we will always consider two fire deaths to be two too many, these figures indicate that the work our staff are doing in all areas of the organisation is paying dividends. 

“Our efforts to prevent emergency incidents from happening in the first place, and to ensure there is a level of protection in place when an incident does occur, are saving lives and making people safer. The safety messages we provide through the numerous ways we interact with our communities are being heard.

“In addition to this, the very high number of people who said they were 'very satisfied' when they took part in the survey is something we should all be proud of.

“It is obviously a testament to the excellent work undertaken every day by our operational crews - the response element of our service. But it is also important to recognise the contributions made by everyone who supports and enables them to respond when a member of the public needs our help.”