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Scottish fire deaths rise 10% despite fall in house fires

23 October 2012

Provisional figures from the Scottish Government have shown an increase in fire deaths, despite a 17% reduction in the total number of fires. Figures for 2011-12 show that there were 57 fatalities, an increase of 5 on the previous year. The total number of fires fell to 32,204, down from 38,970 in 2010-11.

Primary fires – that is all fires in non-derelict buildings and outdoor structures, fires involving casualties or rescues or any fires with more than five appliances in attendance – account for 39% of fires, with the remaining 58% being classed as secondary fires.

The figures were compiled by Scotland’s chief statistician and the news that fatalities in Scotland has risen in the last financial year is likely to cause concern as the Scottish Government continue preparations for the establishment of a single Scottish Fire Service.

However the figure of 57 is still the third lowest of the last ten years.

The leading cause of fatal fires was smoking materials with 21 of the 47 deaths (45%) in accidental dwelling fires as a result of ‘smokers’ materials and matches’.

Accidental dwelling fires overall were down to a ten year low of 5,116 with 17% as a result of impairment due to suspected alcohol and/or drugs use.

Although the 2011-12 figures for England and Wales are not yet available, the rate of fatal fire deaths per million in 2010-11 was 10 in Scotland, compared to 6.3 and 7 in England and Wales.

The full fire statistics 2011-12 report is available on the Scottish Government website.

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