Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has reported the lowest number of accidental house fires in the Service’s history in its annual figures for 2013/14.
The report showed a total of 550 accidental house fires from April 2013 to March 2014, which is a drop of more than 100 from figures just four years ago.
Commenting on the reduction, Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: “We are extremely pleased to have seen a further drop in the number of accidental house fires. But there remains plenty more work to be done, particularly as we have seen an increase in the number of injuries at these fires. We remain absolutely committed to driving down the levels of fire casualties year on year, however as the numbers are small, the statistics are fragile and can be skewed by one or two incidents involving multiple casualties.
"The cause of the majority of these fires was cooking. The victims of the fires we go to are often surprised as to how quickly their food has overheated and set on fire, which is why we stress to people to never leave cooking unattended. Another big contributing factor is alcohol – trying to cook when you’re drunk is a recipe for disaster.”
"We have a working group of Officers and Authority Members exploring whether there is any evidence of reasons why we have had this increase in casualties as we are keen to determine if there are any lessons we need to learn, so that we can do all we can together with our partners to continue the downward trend of fire casualties into the future by addressing the lifestyle choices that increase vulnerability to fires."
Of the accidental house fires in 2013/14 35% were at properties where no smoke alarm was fitted and the Service are urging all people to ensure they have a working alarm, regularly tested.
Other figures reported at the Fire and Rescue Authority meeting were for secondary fires including grass fires. There has been a marked increase in the number of grass fires for 2013/14 in comparison to 2012/13, largely due to the mahor reduction in rainfall between the two years.
Download the full report at: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/Documents/fire_authority_3_june_2014_v2.pdf