In the UK, we are fortunate to have highly responsive fire services, staffed by courageous and well-trained men and women who risk their lives daily to keep us and our families safe.
Most of us are lucky enough to have never been a victim of a serious fire outbreak, but that doesn't mean we can afford to get complacent; fires are more common than many people think and can pose serious risks to our health, with particularly severe outbreaks often resulting in many lives being lost.
Raising awareness of the severity of fire risks is the first step towards building better fire safety habits in the workplace and at home, which is why we’ve created this article about some of the key fire statistics that you need to know to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
General Fire Statistics
• Over half a million incidents per year in the UK require intervention by fire services – These events include a wide range of scenarios, such as natural and man-made disasters like floods, storms, terror attacks, road traffic accidents, and domestic disturbances.
But 28% of all incidents attended by the fire services relate to fire outbreaks, which cause over 400 emergency situations per day, making a total of 154,772 fire-related emergencies every year
• More than half of all fires are caused by cooking appliances - 48% of non-fatal injuries during a fire are caused by cooking appliances, with these devices leading to 14% of all fire-related deaths
• Most fire-related fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation - It's a common misconception that most deaths due to fires come as a result of burns to the body. In fact, the majority of fire-related deaths occur because of smoke inhalation, which can cause fatal damage to the heart and lungs. As such, even if you don’t suffer any burns to your body during a fire, you should always seek medical attention
• Wildfires are increasing rapidly due to global warming - In 2022, the number of wildfires in the UK tripled, from just 247 in 2021 to 745 in 2022. This was exacerbated by the number of people having outside BBQs and bonfires due to the warm weather
Commercial Fire Statistics
• There are 22,000 workplace fires every year in the UK - The most common causes of fires in non-domestic premises are faulty electric appliances and leads, faulty fuel supplies, and putting flammable items close to heat sources
• Over a fifth of all workplace fires are caused by arson – Disturbingly, 22% of all workplace fires are started deliberately
• 60% of private businesses never fully recover following a fire - If your business suffers a fire, the impact can be devastating, and many businesses never fully regain the growth that they achieved prior to being affected by the fire
• The average cost to businesses when they experience a fire in a commercial building is £65,000 - Many companies cite the expense as a reason for failing to invest in fire security. But the alternative can be far worse, as businesses are often forced to cease trading after being hit by fire, due to the substantial losses they incur
• 1/3 of UK businesses do not test their fire alarms often enough - A third of UK businesses are failing to comply with legislation by not regularly testing their fire alarms. All fire alarms in commercial premises should be tested weekly, but a shocking 20% of all businesses only test their fire alarm once a year
• 38% of UK businesses have not undertaken the appropriate fire risk assessments - Fire risk assessments are essential for putting in place measures to prevent fires and to evacuate the premises safely. Therefore, failing to carry out regular fire risk assessments can put you and your employees at serious risk
Domestic Fire Statistics
• 82% of all lives lost to fire occur in a domestic dwelling - Offices and commercial settings are usually better prepared for fires, due to the protective legislations enforced on businesses. As such, most fire fatalities occur in domestic properties
• There are 7,000 non-fatal casualties in domestic properties every year - Even for those who are lucky enough to escape with their lives intact, fires can cause serious health problems, such as severe burns, heart and lung damage, and carbon monoxide poisoning
• Many homes in the UK do not contain adequate fire alarm systems - In the year ending March 2020, it was estimated that almost 1 in 10 UK homes did not have a working smoke alarm: that’s more than 2 million homes. And while fire awareness is improving, in 2022 there were still 1 million homes that did not meet the new requirements for smoke alarms
• 50% of fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarm - Smoke alarms save lives, and half of all deaths are a direct result of either having no smoke alarm - or one with faults - installed in the home
• Over 1 in 3 house fire fatalities are caused by cigarette smokers - 36% of all fire-related fatalities in the home are caused by habits such as smoking in bed or while drinking alcohol
Whether you’re responsible for the safety of a business and its employees, for a commercial building, or for a housing development, providing proper protection against fires is vital.
Would you like expert help with this to ensure you have peace of mind? Give us a call!