Are unwanted fires a thing of the past?

Recent government statistics have shown that unwanted fires are becoming more and more of an aberration.  Between 2001 and 2012 the number of blazes reported to fire services in the UK has halved and the number of people killed in fires has fallen from 967 in 1985 to just 380 in 2012.

The causes of these improvements are many and varied.  In 1988, the law was changed to force furniture makers to use less flammable materials in sofas and other soft furnishings.  Since 2007, all buildings above 30 metres high, must have sprinkler systems included as part of the design.  Smoke alarms in homes have increased from just 8% in 1988 to 85% in now. Commercial premises are now governed by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, ensuring that most buildings have a fire risk assessment and that responsibility for compliance with the law is put squarely on a responsible individual, tends to focus the mind on fire safety.

Social change has also had a large effect.  Children down the years have had it drilled into them, that playing with matches and fires is dangerous.  Other distractions have made such activities less attractive, such as electronics, video games and in home entertainment and the result is that fires started by children not acting maliciously have roughly halved.   Smoking rates have collapsed by a third since 1990 and crucially, the elderly who were particularly at risk from the outrageously dangerous practice of smoking in bed, have given up the weed in bigger numbers.

The way we heat out homes has changed too.  Out with indoor fires and in with comparatively reliable and safe gas and electric heaters.  Eating habits have also contributed, with the once ubiquitous chip pan, the cause of horrendous domestic  fires in the past, giving way to safer  cooking methods.

So where does this leave us?

Well, it leaves us less likely to suffer the consequences of a fire but that does not mean we should become careless or let down our guard.

This data is likely to see the government look to reduce funding for fire services, perhaps merging areas or increasing the number of stand-by or part-time fire fighters in light of the reduced risk.  It is also likely that the pressure will increase on the responsible person within and organisation to ensure that their systems and safety equipment are maintained and serviceable, should the worst happen.

Give us a call on 01282 412340 to discuss your fire extinguisher or fire alarm needs.

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