How Common are Fires in England?

How regularly do you think about fire? Not very often, right?

You’re not alone. Thankfully, the majority of people will never experience a house fire or business fire, so it’s not something that’s on their minds a lot.

The truth is that the possibility of a fire happening isn’t something that needs to keep you up at night. It’s not something we should be constantly anxious about. But it is something that we can’t overlook. After all, while fires are uncommon, they can and do happen. And they could happen to you or your business.

Prevalence of domestic fires

In 2020-2021, the fire service attended 27,021 domestic fires in England, resulting in 4877 injuries, and 185 fatalities. The leading cause of domestic fire is the misuse of equipment, and the average response time for the 2020-2021 period was 7 minutes and 36 seconds. On average, 14.8 square metres of a property was damaged by fire, marking a significant decrease on previous years.

Prevalence of non-domestic fires

Between 2020-2021, the fire service attended 8,153 non-domestic fires in England, including fires in commercial properties, schools, leisure centres, and more. Deliberate fires in non-domestic buildings are almost as common as accidental fires. The average response time for the 2020-2021 period was 8 minutes and 40 seconds. On average, properties suffered 28.7 square metres of damage.

Global comparison

According to worldwide reports, Britain has a relatively low incidence of fires, especially when comparing the figures to the US, or to some European countries such as the Czech Republic. Despite this, we do have one of the highest fire injury rates relative to the population.

Research such as this suggests that, while we may not experience as many fire-related events, the ones that we do experience are more devastating. They may spread more quickly. Or produce more damage. Perhaps homeowners aren’t as prepared to evacuate – or maybe businesses do not have robust enough policies in place to effectively manage an emergency. Whatever it is, it’s worrying.

How can we reduce the prevalence of fires?

Government statistics show that 34,423 safety audits were carried out by fire and rescue services across England between 2020-2021. Of them, a quarter resulted in an ‘unsatisfactory’ result.

So while it’s important to focus on aspects such as education to prevent fires from occurring, it’s clear that we need to be doing more. We also need to be exploring ways to extinguish fires quickly, to reduce the impact should they occur. This may include improving awareness of fire protection solutions, such as sprinkler systems and dry and wet risers, in an effort to increase fire safety.

At Eversafe, that’s what we’re here for. Our mission is to help business owners, landlords, facilities managers, and property owners to better understand fire risk, and how to reduce it. Is it likely you’ll experience a fire? Fortunately, no. Is it possible? Absolutely. Being prepared to manage a potential fire event is essential for minimising the impact of fire, keeping people safe, and recovering quickly.