NFCC responds to latest Home Office fire statistics

Latest figures released by the Home Office show that there has been a 2 per cent increase in the total number of incidents attended by fire and rescue services in England – and a 5 per cent increase in the number of fires attended.

The figures cover a 12-month period, up to December 2018. The data shows that fire services attended 576,586 incidents over this period, compared with the previous year (565,777).  

The new figures also show that 177,844 incidents attended were fires which is a five per cent increase compared with the previous year (170,007).

Of all incidents attended by FRSs, fires accounted for 31 per cent, fire false alarms 40 per cent and non-fire incidents 29 per cent. 

This can be partly attributed to an 11 per cent increase in secondary fires, linked to last year’s linked to the hot, dry summer. 

Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Roy Wilsher said, “I am very disappointed to see both an increase in the number of incidents attended and the five per cent increase in fires.

“While a number of the fires attended last year can be attributed to the hot weather last summer, it is important to recognise we have already seen in the region of 100 wildfires this year alone, and this is likely to continue to grow.

“Wildfires both last year and this year have taken up huge amounts of resources and it is essential that the government recognise the need to resource to risk, as well as demand. Fire and rescue services must be resourced to meet the risk in their locality sufficiently; otherwise the good work of previous years will slowly be undone.  

“The increase in incidents demonstrates the challenges services’ currently face. Fire-related fatalities are still not falling as we would like to see and as stated in the Home Office data trend continues to plateau. All this shows we are facing new and changing risks."

The full document can be accessed via the Home Office website.

Notes to editor:

The five largest non-fire incident types were: 

  • road traffic collisions (30,872 up 4% from 29,744 in the previous year)
  • effecting entry/exit (24,876, up 7% from 23,291 in the previous year)
  • medical incidents (22,784 down 39% from 37,317 in the previous year - due to the removal of support for the emergency medical responding trials in September 2017)
  • flooding incidents (16,333 up 29% from 12,674 in the previous year) and
  • assisting other agencies (14,521 up 14% from 12,728 in the previous year). 

When excluding medical incidents, FRSs attended 144,836 other non-fire incidents, an eight per cent increase compared with the previous year (134,419).  


There were 261 fire-related fatalities in the year ending December 2018 compared with 338 (including 71 from the Grenfell Tower fire) in the previous year (a decrease of 23%). Fire related fatalities had been on a downward trend since the 1980s but have plateaued in recent years. 


There were 6,902 non-fatal casualties, a four per cent decrease compared with the 7,199 in the previous year. Of these, 3,129 were casualties requiring hospital treatment, also a four per cent decrease compared with the 3,259 in the previous year. 

To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:
NFCC Communications Team
Tel: +44 (0) 121 380 6989


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