Firefighters in North Yorkshire responded to more calls, figures show.

Firefighters in North Yorkshire responded to an increased number of calls last year - and the Fire Brigades union says that public safety is at risk.

Wednesday, 27th February 2019, 10:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th February 2019, 10:57 am
North Yorkshire fire crews were on hand to deal with Harrogate house fire.

Following several years of improvement across the country, the number of call-outs has increased each of the last three years.

The data shows that the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 7,023 calls in the year to September 2018.

It was an increase of 6% on the previous year.

Excluding false alarms, firefighters were more likely to be called to incidents involving fires than those which did not, such as traffic accidents – 57% involved fires.

Across England, fire and rescue services dealt with more than 580,000 calls in the year ending September 2018.

It represents an increase of 16% compared to three years ago – before then, the number of incidents had declined each year since 2010, when they were first published.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “These figures reveal the immense value of the work of firefighters, and also the scale of the challenge they face with increased cuts to their numbers.

“Year on year we are seeing appalling cuts to the service, with fire and rescue services in England expected to do more with less.

“It is only down to the dedication of fire and rescue staff that the service is performing at all.

“Firefighters have been ensuring the service delivers, but it is at breaking point.

“Public safety is being put at risk.”

In total, 2,095 incidents in North Yorkshire involved fires of some kind.

Two in five were secondary fires – those in which no one was injured, and which caused no damage to property.

More significant primary fires accounted for 60% of incidents, 1,252 in total.

There were 361 in homes, 273 in other types of buildings and 275 vehicle fires. Of the remainder, 191 were outdoors and 152 were chimney fires.

The service also took 3,338 false alarm calls.

A significant majority of them were caused by apparatus, while 26% were calls with good intentions. Just 88 were considered malicious.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The work of fire and rescue services has changed hugely in recent years.

“While any fire is a cause for concern, these figures show firefighters are attending 26% fewer incidents overall than 10 years ago and 38% fewer fires.

“We are confident that fire and rescue services have the resources they need to do their vital work, and overall they will receive around £2.3 billion in 2019-20.”