House fires in the UK could be double the number recorded by official Government statistics, according to new research from Stone Wool insulation supplier Rockwool.  

New research commissioned by the world's leading provider of Stone Wool insulation found that over the past five years half of the 90,000 house fires in the UK were attended by fire brigades. But, the rest were extinguished by homeowners, other residents and neighbours or by other means.  

Official fire statistics capture those fires attended by the fire brigade and in 2010 - 2011 DCLG fire statistics recorded 45,000 dwelling fires extinguished by Fire and Rescue Services. Due to this, there is potential that an additional 45,000 house fires being extinguished without fire brigade intervention.  

The findings probably mean UK fire protection guidelines and building regulations are based on only a partial picture of the fire risk facing homes. As a result of this, householders should be taking more proactive steps to increase the fire protection in their home.  

"Fires cause significant damage to buildings across the country and resulted in 268 deaths in the years 2010 - 2011, so reducing fire risk should be an important consideration for homeowners," states Paula Bateman, Corporate Affairs Director, Rockwool UK.  

"Building regulations currently ensure important standards for fire protection in both new and refurbished buildings but property owners need to understand that simply installing non-combustible insulation when renovating for energy efficiency can boost the level of fire protection in the building as well as saving money on energy bills."  

The research comes as the Government prepares to launch the Green Deal, being dubbed the biggest home improvement programme since the Second World War. This will allow homeowners to borrow funds to improve the insulation and boost energy efficiency in their houses. They would have to pay the loans off via their energy bills using savings achieved through lower heating costs to off-set the cost.  

Bateman continues: "The Green Deal offers a significant opportunity to boost insulation and improve energy efficiency in homes across the country, but it also offers a chance to improve fire protection. If homeowners are installing insulation to cut heat loss, they can also ensure they use an insulation material that provides fire protection and doesn't burn. The different insulation materials available react very differently to fire, so by insisting on insulation that is non-combustible homeowners can be reassured that they are improving their home's fire safety and energy efficiency credentials."  

Watch how Rockwell performs in a fire-related incident:

posted on 13/07/2012 by Tom Lawson