Hartlepool homes 'among the safest' when it comes to risk of fire, say chiefs

Hartlepool folk are among the safest in their homes when it comes to the risk of blazes, a fire officer has said.

Sunday, 30th June 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 1st July 2019, 3:23 pm
Cleveland Fire Authority HQ
Cleveland Fire Authority HQ

Cleveland Fire Brigade has had its performance over the past year rated as ‘good’ by an internal review, ahead of an inspection from a national body later this year.

The annual performance report showed Cleveland Fire Brigade was the best in the country in regards to accidental dwelling fires and response times.

However deliberate fires were highlighted as an area to improve by officers, due to a rise in secondary fires started deliberately, such as those involving rubbish and small grassland areas.

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Fire Brigade bosses also said it is due to the high levels of deprivation in many of the wards covered by the force.

Ray Khaliq, director of technical services, Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We have the lowest rates of the higher risk incidents, such as fires in the home, in fact we have the lowest rate of accidental fires in the home, so Cleveland is the safest place to live when it comes to safety at home.

“We have the fastest response times in the country, we have undertaken amongst the highest number of home fire safety visits and safe and well visits in the country.

“Far more than brigades who have two, three times, the firefighters we have.

“In terms of areas of focus going forward, deliberate fire setting, that is a challenge for us and has been a challenge for us in all of the 29 years I’ve been in Cleveland.

“Sadly the underlying causes linked to do with are high levels of deprivation and socio-economic factors which unfortunately we have to experience in our communities.

“Having said that we still have made great inroads into reducing those types of incidents and we continue to work with schools, and young children, investing into out community to improve our neighbourhoods.”

Statistics from a report which went before Cleveland Fire Authority Audit and Governance Committee showed there had been a total of 8,772 incidents in 2018/19, a rise of 2%, or 205, on the previous year.

The number of accidental dwelling fires in the area dropped 20%, or 29 incidents, from the previous year, meaning there was just 113 of the incidents, the lowest ever recorded by Cleveland Fire.

The number of primary fires also dropped from 720 to 684, although the number of secondary fires rose 22% from 2,940 to 3,606.

Ups and downs for fire figures in Hartlepool

In Hartlepool the number of primary fires dropped to 119 in 2018/19, compared to 125 the previous year, although secondary fires increased from 435 to 646.

Meanwhile the number of accidental and deliberate dwelling fires remained the same in Hartlepool from the previous year, at 23 and 17 respectively.

Tim Graham, head of risk and performance, said across eight areas the brigade assessed itself on, four were rated as performing strongly, and four performing well, giving it an overall rating of good, the same as the previous six years.

Following the internal report Cleveland Fire Brigade is scheduled for its inspection from HMICFRS (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services) later this year.

Figures also showed 1,456 audit inspections of industrial and commercial premises were carried out, with just three enforcement notices issues and nine prohibition notices.

Mr Khaliq said: “Those numbers are extremely low compared to the other fire and rescue services, one of the main reasons they are so low is the promotional work we do, we work with businesses, and we have seminars and learning events.”