Exploring the incidence of fire within a community

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The Fire and Rescue Services now have numerous roles which they do day in day out as a result of the "Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004" (Changes to legislation) .This act was made because in 2002-03 the fire service went on strike; over their salary, so the government came up with the "Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004" which give the fire fighters a better pay. This was the first significant change that there has been to the law in 50 years regraunding the fire service. The last act was brought in to affect in 1947 which was all about fighting fires. Over the year the job of the fire and rescue service has become more complex as times have changed. So under the new law "Act fire and rescue authorities now have a range of statutory duties" (Key Factsheet 1: A modern legislative framework) As a result of this the fire and rescue service have a large catalogue of jobs to do, this mean the fire and rescue service do a lot more than putting out fires, they go into school and company's and teach people about how to prevent fires. This is a big thing for the fire service because preventing fires from happing save lives. In England the fire and rescue service attended "242,000 fires in 2009-10" (Fire statistics monitor April 2009 to March 2010) from these fires there was "328 fire fatalities which is one and a half per cent more than in 2008-09" (Fire statistics monitor April 2009 to March 2010).This report will highlight that fire within a community is very much dependent on the demographic profile of the population. As a result the Fire and Rescue do a risk management all across England to help them work out areas which are classed as a high risk which mean these area will have more fires ,this is done by looking at the "Household type, children and pensioners ,Ethnicity ,Occupation ,Work status"( Fire Research Series 9/2008).

4.1 Stakeholders

The information in this report will shows why these groups are classed as high risk each group and why each comes with its own problem which does make it hard for the fire and rescue service to deal with them but this does not Holt the service trying to reduce these problems. There are many different stakeholders working to promotion safe and healthy community across England. The main stakeholders in "Emergency planning" (Bernard Kershaw) are emergency services, local authorities, environment agency and health protection agency. This means that the from a fire service view they are now working in the community, not just in the fire station. .This has a huge impact on being able to reach these vulnerable groups. These stakeholders can be seen working as one at incident such as a house fires with each group playing a massive role in saving lives.

4.2 Socio-demographic groups

When the profiles of the communities are worked out it gives an understanding of people's attitudes towards fire and people who are higher risk. In these areas "research shows that these minorities of people are more at risk from fire and account for the majority of fire deaths" (Local Government Fire Research Series 13/2008)" working with these high risk people will decrease the amount of fires.

5.1 Who are these minorities?

This minority of people are single parents with dependent child, Black and Minority Ethnic communities, Never worked, deprived and elderly who account for "69% of dwelling fire and 54% of dwelling fire injuries"(Analysis of fire and rescue service performance and outcomes with reference to population socio-demographics).This information there for shows that a single parents or adult that has never worked and are deprived also Black and Minority Ethnic communities and elderly are a higher risk group with a higher chance of starting a fire these minority groups will there for change the incident of fire within a community and show that the demographic profile of the population does change the risk of fires .

5.2 Never worked and live in deprived areas

People who have never worked and live in deprived areas are a higher risk of starting fire as "research suggested that those most likely to suffer a fire are those living in socially deprived areas and in low-income families"(Community fire safety innovation fund) also they are more likely to drink regularly and smoke at home which means they are "35% more likely to have a fire" (direct gov) people will often drink and smoke will fall asleep whilst smoking which can start a fire. In deprived areas there is a high chance that there is faulty wiring thought a house which might start a fire as it does not meet high standards also old appliances which could start a fire as well as plug sockets which are overloaded.

6.1 Single parent

Single parents have many different things to deal with such as trying to work, paying bills, keeping the house clean, cook meals and look after their children at all agers. With all these problems they are more prone to problems. "15,000 cases of accidental fires" (Chapter 2 - Dwellings) in households where appliances 5,400 where from chip pan fires and careless handling with hot substances. If a single parent has young children this can create a risk in a household as children could from no fault of their own start a fire and from the parents busy life not be able to react to the fire as fast as they normally would .There children attend school , Shockley "46% of arson attacks occur in schools"( The Health and Safety Executive's) In one year there is an estimations that there are "1300 schools that have fires and 56% of these are classed as non-accidental"( The Health and Safety Executive's) this means the "chance of there being a fire is 1 in 20"( Fire safety for schools) but many of these fires are not reported to the fire service most fires are put out by the school staff. Statistics show that most arsonists are over the age of "18 but 34% are aged between 10 and 17 and are normally male" (Why arson occurs).In some cases they will be ex-students. There are many reasons why they do it to cover up another crime a student might try to steal something and so to cover this up they will start a fire, they might want to settle a dispute a student or ex-student might have a problem with a teacher so they get revenge on the staff and the school by burning the school down it may seem far-fetched but it does happen. Often most fires in school are a result from a prank that got out of control like starting a fire in a bin or vandalism within the school.

7.1 elderly

"Unfortunately the majority of fire deaths in the home involve older people" (Advice for the carers of older people) Being elderly does not mean that all elderly people are high risk but as people get older there is a higher chance that they will get a "combination of being single, sick/disabled and deprived"(4.1.1 Key socio demographic risk factors) this is why they are a risk. Being sick/disabled does happen to everyone but is much more common amongst elderly people. When elderly people are in care there is still a high risk of fire "on average 3 fires reported each day in care homes for the elderly" (Fire in HMO's). Dementia is more common in elderly people so they might start cooking a meal and as a result of their illness might forget they are cooking which could start a fire. Many elderly people are on medication that affects their ability to make quick decisions. Which means if there is a fire in an elderly person house because of their age they will take longer to respond to the fire and also raising the alarm, many reduced mobility so when a fire does happen it is much harder to escape from a fire? . In winter time the cold affect elderly people more so they often have electric heaters in the home which could easily start a fire. Elderly people have a different attitude towards fire as when they were growing up fire was not such a big issue compared to modern day. This is because when they were younger if there was a fire in a house, the fire service would come to the house and put the fire out, there was not focuses on preventing fires from happing .This graph from "K. Hodsoll & U.S.L. Nayak" (The perception of fire risk by older people) shows the percent of elderly people worried about the risk of fire in the home.

8.1 Black and Minority Ethnic groups

Another group is black and Minority Ethnic group this is because they have a different cultural and there view of fire safety is very different , as a result they are not fully engaged with the local fire service which makes them more of a risk of becoming isolated from the wider community. This graph by "NOTTINGHAMSHIRE FIRE & RESCUE AUTHORITY" (Review of Home Safety Check Delivery) shows ethnicity groups and percent of Households not having a working smoke alarm.

8.2 Each group has different needs

Working with these high risk groups will decrease the amount of fires .when working with these different groups the fire and rescue service have different ways that they will deal with them to make sure that they understand what they are being told. To help people who Never worked and live in deprived areas the fire service work with other agencies like housing agencies to help reduce the fire risk by working within the community to have a larger scale of fire safety within a community. Doing home visits and educating single parent is key in the battle of prevent fires, small things such as giving out advice slips about fires really make a different also fitting and checking smoke alarms and helping plan escape routes . The fire service can also help influencing children and young people about the dangers of fire. There is a need to work closely with school to prevent arson and get children more involved with schemes such as Princes Trust and Community Fire Cadets which will help children develop

9.1 Each group has different needs

skills needed in life The first step on the way to ensuring that elderly people have good fire prevention skill is teaching them about fire safety awareness which could be do at community centres. With elderly people there are many different steps which can be taken to protect them from fire hazards. When working with Elderly there are many things that can be done to help prevention fires such as having notes in the kitchen which remind them to turn off the oven and stoves after use, check that any electrical appliances they have are certified by the "Underwriters Laboratory" (About UL) which ensures they are safe to use. There is also a need to make sure that elderly people have working smoke detectors which could be checked by family and friends and in the case of fire make sure they have a safe escape route. When working with Black and Minority Ethnic groups it is very important that more time is made to try and build stronger links with these groups and making an effort to build knowledge of their cultural by meeting them and giving advice this is done at mosques, temples, churches and synagogues to teach them the dangers of fire.

9.2 Conclusion

This report fully highlights why the incident within a community is very much dependant on the demographic profile of the population. Any community with large amount of these groups will be watched by the fire service as they are a high risk. There are many groups working with these communities which are key to lowering the risk of fires.