23 Dec 2011
People are still more likely to die or be injured by a fire in Northern Ireland than in the other home nations.
The Audit Office revealed that the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), which has an annual budget of about £80 million, still lags behind its English counterpart.
Deliberate blazes are also more common in Northern Ireland than they are in England, but instances of arson and prank calls to the fire service his fallen by as much as 20% in the past few years.
Northern Ireland experienced 27 deaths per 100,000 people – triple England’s ratio in 2009/10. It also emerged that Northern Ireland experienced 224 fires per 100,000 people during the same period
During 2010/11, 11 people died and 137 people were seriously injured in accidental fires. In total, there were 806 residential fires and 1,832 deliberate blazes.
The report said: “Historically there has been a higher incidence of fires and deaths and injury from fire in Northern Ireland when compared to similar services in England.
“Performance is still below the family group average in these important areas and more significantly the rate of improvement is also lower.”
Copyright Press Association 2011