Trend-bucking drop in 999 fire call-outs

Drop in fire-related 999 call outs
Drop in fire-related 999 call outs

Greater Manchester firefighters attended more than 10,000 fires last year including hundreds in Wigan, figures reveal.

The Fire Brigades Union has warned that services are under pressure, and voiced concern that “massive cuts” have led to a significant increase in fires across England.

But Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was called out to 12,729 fires in 2018-19, Home Office figures show.

That’s a slight drop over the previous 12 months, when 12,784 were recorded. The overall number of call-outs in Greater Manchester fell over the same period, with the number of non-fire incidents, such as road smashes, also decreasing.

But across England, fire and rescue services attended nine per cent more fires in 2018-19 – almost 183,000 incidents, prompting unions to criticise funding cuts.

The FBU accused the Government of being “utterly complacent about fire safety for years”, and said firefighters were responding to more incidents with fewer resources. The union said firefighter numbers have fallen by a fifth over the last decade, and the number of specialist safety officers has been cut by a quarter.

Kate Lee, shadow minister for fire services, said the latest figures show the Government’s policy is “based on a complete falsehood”.

In Greater Manchester, there were 19 fire-related fatalities and 544 non-fatal casualties last year.

The Home Office attributed the increase in fires to the hot summer in 2018.

A spokesperson said: “We are grateful for the continued tireless efforts of firefighters across the country.”