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The department has been eager to revise the government estimates, which were last revised more than ten years ago, since the Home Office assumed control of fire and rescue policy in 2016. This report, which significantly broadens the body of fire economics research, is the outcome of that work.
In order to make more informed decisions, he hopes that professionals in the fire and rescue services, the fire industry, and other readers will make extensive use of this report. The report serves as the foundation for a developing and crucial fire research function in central government that I hope will continue to produce outcomes and insights that can add value for the tax payer, along with other research reports on evacuation and fire-related fatalities published last year. In order to improve public safety, save lives, and mitigate the harm caused by fires, it is my goal for the Home Office to play a leading role in building the fire evidence base. With our assistance, this evidence base will continue to expand and become essential in guiding policy and operational decisions.
This report uses information on fires that occurred in the year ending March 2020 to estimate the total annual economic and social cost of fire in England. This significant addition to the fire economics evidence base offers a current, strong, and reliable estimate that is necessary to comprehend the effects of fires in England. This report's objectives are to provide guidance for policy development and operational decision-making, as well as to serve as a resource for analysts and people involved in and working for the fire and rescue services (FRSs).
In England, the estimated total annual economic and social cost of fire was £12.0 billion, of which £3.2 billion was the marginal cost. The cost incurred after a fire that would be directly impacted by the change in the number of fires is referred to as the marginal cost.
The difference in overall economic and social costs brought on by an additional fire can be referred to as the marginal unit cost. As a result, it is believed that marginal cost is a more accurate cost figure for estimating the value and economic benefit of reducing the frequency of fires. The total cost also accounts for anticipation spend, which has a stronger connection to fire risk than to the volume of fire incidents. The expenses are divided into three main categories:
This report estimates the total annual economic and social cost of fire in England using data on fires that occurred in the year ending March 2020. This significant addition to the fire economics evidence base provides an up-to-date robust and reliable estimate, which is vital in understanding the impact of fires in England. The purpose of this report is to inform policy development, operational decision-making and be a point of reference for analysts and individuals working with, and for, fire and rescue services (FRSs).
The estimated total economic and social cost of fire in England, in year ending March 2020, was £12.0 billion, of which £3.2 billion is marginal cost. Marginal cost is defined as the cost incurred following a fire, that would be directly impacted by the change in the number of fires. The marginal unit cost can be defined as the change in total economic and social cost from one additional fire occurring.
Therefore, marginal cost is seen as a better cost figure for estimating the value and economic benefit in reducing the number of fires that occur. Total cost also includes anticipation spend, which is more related to fire risk as opposed to fire incident numbers. The costs are split into 3 overarching areas:
Anticipation – measures designed to either prevent fires from occurring or protective measures to mitigate the damage and impact of fires.
Consequence – direct and indirect costs that occur as a result of fire, such as property damage, loss of business, human injury, and fatalities.
Response – cost of fire and rescue services responding to incidents.
The aim of this report is to calculate the total annual economic and social cost of fires in England using data on fires that occurred in year ending 31 March 2020. The purpose of the report is to improve our understanding of the economic impact fires have on individuals, businesses, and society, which is currently a significant evidence gap.
This report represents the first comprehensive attempt by the Home Office to estimate the economic and social cost of fire in England and to our knowledge, the only full assessment of this cost since DCLG published an estimate in 2011 (DCLG, 2011a, DCLG, 2011b).
This report is a significant update on previous estimates, with overarching methodological changes made throughout, and numerous costs (such as environmental impacts) monetised for the first time in published economic analysis on fires. It should not be compared to previous publications on this topic due to large methodological differences.
The report is a significant addition to the fire economics evidence base and aims to be a useful tool for government decision makers and analysts, FRSs, and wider stakeholders working in the fire sector. The figures presented can be used in economic appraisal, the evaluation of policy and operational activity (including prevention and protection activity), and financial assessments. Ultimately, this report aims to provide policy and operational decision makers with an improved understanding of the cost and impact of fire, which will assist their efforts to reduce the number of fires and the harm that they can cause society.
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