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16/12/14 09:30

Dwelling fire numbers continue to fall

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The number of dwelling fires in Scotland fell by 9 per cent in 2013-14, continuing the downward trend of the last ten years.

The decline in dwelling fires can in part be attributed to fire prevention and protection activity undertaken by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and the 8 predecessor Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs). Such activity includes conducting Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) and the fitting of smoke detectors in homes. Dwelling fires have accounted for 87 per cent of fire casualties in the last ten years, making them a key focus of the SFRS’s fire prevention and protection activity.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the statistical bulletin Fire and Rescue Statistics, Scotland, 2013-14, providing key statistics on incidents attended by the SFRS. The publication, which presents the latest statistics on fires, special service incidents, casualties and false alarms in Scotland, shows that:

Provisionally, there were 33 fatal casualties from fires in 2013-14, a decrease of 13 (28 per cent) on the revised figure of 46 for 2012-13. Whilst the number of fatal casualties in fires is prone to fluctuation, this continues the general downward trend of the last ten years.

For the sixth year in a row the most common source of ignition for accidental dwelling fires in which a fatality occurred was ‘smokers’ materials and matches’, accounting for 14 of the total 24 fatal casualties in accidental dwelling fires (58 per cent).

Fire fatality rates for people aged 60 and over are higher than for younger people. In 2013-14, the rate of fatal casualties in the 60 and over age group was 13 per million population, more than double the national average (6 per million population). The fatality rate for people aged 60 and over in 2013-14 was at its lowest in the last decade.

In 2013-14, almost half of all fatal casualties in dwelling fires occurred where there was a smoke alarm present which either did not operate or failed to raise the alarm. The most common reason for an alarm failing to operate was that the fire was not close enough to the alarm (48 per cent), was in an area not covered by the detector (9 per cent) or the alarm battery was defective (9 per cent).

The SFRS attended 27,979 fires in Scotland in 2013-14, a 5 per cent increase compared to the previous year (26,719) and the second lowest annual total in the last decade. The overall increase reflected a 15 per cent rise in the number of secondary outdoor fires compared to 2012-13.

In 2013-14, fire false alarms accounted for 56 per cent of all incidents attended by the SFRS, more than any other incident type.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at

On the 1st April 2013, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) replaced the 8 former Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) of Scotland. The statistics in this publication cover the first year following the establishment of the SFRS. As such, this is the first year that the publication includes statistics at Local Authority level, in place of former FRS level breakdowns.

This bulletin is the primary source of information relating to all incidents attended by the SFRS. The statistics inform the National Outcome 9 – ‘we live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger’ and National Outcome 11 - ‘we have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others’. The bulletin is used by a wide range of users and stakeholders to monitor trends and develop evidence-based research and policy.

Further information on the SFRS can be found at:


Further information on Crime and Justice statistics within Scotland, including Community Safety, can be accessed at:

National statistics are produced in accordance with professional standards – more information on the standards of national statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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