Firefighters called to more than 230,000 false alarms in the last year – figures

Forty percent of all incidents firefighters were called to in the last year were false alarms, official figures show.

Fire and rescue services in England attended 231,067 fire false alarms in 2018/19 – 5,042 more than the previous year – marking a 2% increase (226,025), statistics released by the Home Office on Thursday said.

Firefighters were called out to a total of 576,040 incidents for the 12 months ending in March, according to the annual figures.

This was a 2% increase compared with the previous year (566,433) and a 9% rise compared with five years ago.

Fires accounted for 32% of the legitimate call-outs – while the remaining 28% were incidents like car crashes, floods and medical emergencies.

There were 182,825 fires attended – a 9% increase compared with 167,330 in the previous year.

But the number of fire-related deaths fell by 25% to 253.

More of the fires attended were in high-rise blocks of flats of 10 storeys or higher – a 3% increase on the previous year.

The number of primary fires – in buildings, vehicles or outdoors involving a fatality, casualty or where five or more crews were called – had fallen slightly, but still accounted for 40% of the fires attended (73,214).

There was a 19% hike in the number of secondary fires – outdoor blazes where people and property were not in danger with more occurring in hotter weather.

Road traffic collisions was the largest type of non-fire incident firefighters were called to – up 3% in the last year to 31,086.

The number of medical emergencies and flooding call-outs had reduced.

But there was a 10% rise in firefighters being called to help out other authorities.

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