More than 99,500 emergency incidents attended by firefighters last year

Firefighters across Scotland attended more than 99,500 incidents last year as they worked to protect communities affected by fires, flooding and other emergencies.

The Fire and Rescue Incident Statistics 2022-23, published today (Tuesday, 31 October 2023), coincided with the Annual Performance Review (APR) held in Aberdeen.

The figures show that more than half of all incidents were false alarms.

Firefighters attended 4,305 dwelling fires, which is down seven percent on the previous year.

Flooding incidents increased this year with 3,139 attended in 2022-23, up from 1,617.

The Minister for Victims and Community Safety, who attended the APR event, expressed her gratitude for all that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has done over the year.

The APR allows the Scottish Government to undertake a formal review of SFRS’s performance against a number of priorities previously set out by the service.

“Our people are our greatest asset, displaying dedication and professionalism daily as they carry out their roles in our communities.

“Their physical and mental health will remain a priority. They must continue to have the right equipment to carry out their varied role and to keep them safe.

"We have substantial work to do to bring our estate up to standard and so we must ensure the right projects are being prioritised to deliver best value for money to the public.

“We will also continue to progress a joint approach to the management of contaminants, with particular focus on the development of a recording system for staff exposed to fire contaminants, trials of health screening as well as the wider roll out of station zoning arrangements to prevent the spread of contaminants.”

A report published for the APR event also highlights that work has commenced to prepare for the scale of financial challenges that lie ahead for the Service.

SFRS modelling indicates that over the next three years savings would need to be between £37 and £48 million based on the Scottish Government’s Resource Spending Review in May last year that indicated a flat cash budget for resource and capital spending for the period 2023/24 to 2026/27.

Chief Officer Haggart said: “We remain committed to the modernisation of our service to do more for our communities, but this requires investment.

“Work has already commenced to better understand the budget options we will need to consider, but we cannot realistically reduce costs to this extent without impacting on our frontline emergency service.

"We’ve made temporary operational changes, but clearly any permanent decisions would be undertaken on a risk-based approach to minimise impact upon community safety and would follow full stakeholder consultation."

Minister for Victims and Community Safety, Siobhan Brown MSP, said: “I am pleased to be holding the tenth Annual Performance Review of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the 2022/23 reporting year.

“The Review is an opportunity to reflect on performance and, importantly, to express our thanks for all that SFRS has done over the year.

“The Review and Annual Report provides everyone with the ability to consider the Service’s performance and the work that has been carried out over the past year.

“This is the first full reporting year under the seven priorities within the Scottish Government 2022 Fire Framework which sets out Scottish Ministers’ ambitions and priorities for the SFRS and the strategic priorities that represent our ambition for a modern, skilled, and dynamic fire and rescue service.

“The Report itself gives us detailed narrative on progress on these priorities as well as useful case studies.”