Shropshire Star

Fall in housefires could be post-lockdown effect, according to report

Children returning to school and workers going back to the office could have contributed a 40 per cent reduction in housefires compared to last year, a brigade report suggests.

The report will be discussed by the fire authority this week

Shropshire Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton and Assistant CFO Simon Hardiman write that there were 31 accidental dwelling fires in the county throughout July, August and September this year, compared to 52 in the same three months in 2020.

All the September 2021 incidents were all between 7pm and 10pm, and they note that fewer people were at home during the day than in the previous month or year, meaning less potential for accidents.

Officer Hammerton and Officer Hardiman tell Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority members that there have been 74 accidental housefires since April.

They note that this is “less than anticipated” and well below the half-year upper tolerance level of 122.

“There were only four accidental dwelling fires in September, which is the lowest figure since recording and reporting has begun,” they add.

“The causes of these fires were cooking, electrical faults and negligent use of equipment. Two of the incidents involved individuals over the age of 65.

“There are no identified trends in this reporting period, other than the general observation that the fires are either cooking or electrical related, located in the kitchen area.

“Overall, for the second quarter of this financial year, there have been 31 accidental dwelling fires compared to 52 in the same quarter last year – a reduction of 40.3 per cent.

“When considering demand upon the service, all four September fires were roughly between 7pm and 10pm, which shows no fires occurred during the day.

“It should be noted that all educational establishments reopened in September, which meant that children and young people in education were no longer at home during the day.

“A greater number of people have also now resumed home working, which has also resulted in less people in the home during the day.”

A table in their report shows there were 16 accidental housefires in April this year, followed by 15, 12 and 11 in May, June and July respectively.

The figure jumped to 18 in August then fell to four in September.

The report updates the authority’s Strategy and Resources Committee on Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s “Corporate Performance Indicators” for 2021-22, and also covers factors including the number or deliberate fires, fire-related deaths and injuries and engine arrival times.

The committee is due to meet on Thursday, November 18.

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