About the data - 2023/25

Data in our reports are from a range of sources, including:

Inspection activity takes place over a number of weeks. For the purposes of consistency all data presented is that which was available at the time of inspection for the given service.

Where we collected data directly from fire and rescue services (FRSs), we took reasonable steps to agree the design of the data collection with services and with other interested parties such as the Home Office. This was primarily through the FRS Technical Advisory Group, which brings together representatives from FRSs and the Home Office to support the inspection’s design and development, including data collection. We gave services several opportunities to validate the data they gave us and to ensure the accuracy of the evidence presented. For instance:

  • We asked all services to sign off the data they provided us, and to provide the contact details of the authorising chief officer.
  • We asked all services to check the data they submitted to us, in conjunction with other data sources, via an online data visualisation application.
  • We asked all services to check the final data used in the report and correct any errors identified.



For all uses of population as a denominator in our calculations, unless otherwise noted, we use ONS mid-year population estimates. This is the most recent data available at the time of reporting.

Staff survey

We conducted a staff survey open to all members of the workforce in the FRS being inspected. We sent the survey to services three weeks before we started inspection activity and closed it after four weeks.

We view the staff survey as an important tool in understanding the views of staff who we may not have spoken to, for a variety of reasons, during fieldwork. However, several points should be considered when interpreting staff survey findings.

Due to the self-selection sampling methodology and relatively small sample sizes, we don’t consider the staff survey representative of the opinions and attitudes of the entire service’s workforce. These results should be used as an indicative measure of service performance and should be triangulated with further evidence obtained during inspection.

To protect respondents’ anonymity and allow completion on shared devices, it was not possible to limit responses to one per person. It is possible that a single person could have completed the survey more than once. Each service was provided with a unique survey link for completing the survey. However, it is still possible that the survey and access code could have been shared.

When a service has a low number of responses (fewer than 100), these figures should be treated with additional caution.

Percentages may not sum to 100 percent due to rounding or multiple answer selection. Staff survey questions with fewer than 30 respondents have been excluded and answer category responses of fewer than 5 have been aggregated or excluded to protect respondent’s anonymity.

Service in numbers

Each service report contains a graphic detailing the service in numbers. A dash in this graphic indicates that data was not provided to us or the Home Office. The graphic indicates the relevant dates for each data point.


Population density is calculated using the population from ONS mid-year population estimates divided by the area in square miles of each fire and rescue service as defined by ONS area data.


Expenditure per population is calculated using total expenditure provided by CIPFA divided by ONS mid-year population estimates.

Incidents attended per 1,000 population

Data covering all incidents that FRSs attend is collected by the Home Office’s Incident Recording System (IRS). For several reasons some records take longer than others for FRSs to upload to the IRS. Totals are constantly being amended (by relatively small numbers). Figures may not directly match more recent publications due to data updates.

Home fire safety checks per 1,000 population

Many FRSs now do a home fire safety check (HFSC) as part of a wider safe and well visit (SWV), which can cover additional factors such as falls risk assessments, smoking cessation, cold homes and fuel poverty and a range of other health and community issues depending on local arrangements.

These checks must include:

  • identifying and advising of the potential fire risks within the home;
  • advising householders what to do to reduce or prevent these risks; and
  • putting together an escape plan in case a fire does break out and ensuring the householder has working smoke alarms (the HFSC can include installing a smoke alarm(s) where appropriate).

As all SWVs contain the elements of an HFSC, where a service conducts SWVs these have been included in the HFSC figure shown in service in numbers.

Fire safety audits per 100 known premises

Please consider the following points when interpreting this data.

  • According to the Home Office definition, “premises known to fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) are the FRA’s knowledge, as far as possible, of all relevant premises; for the enforcing authority to establish a risk profile for premises in its area. These refer to all premises except single private dwellings”.
  • Several FRAs report ‘Premises known to FRAs’ as estimates based on historical data.

Average availability of pumps

Please consider the following when interpreting this data:

  • Services provide the average availability directly to HMICFRS for each financial year.
  • This percentage is an average across the whole year. Where services do not have an on call workforce this figure is not provided.
  • Services may calculate the average differently depending on the time frame and number of pumps.
  • Data should be considered alongside targets provided by the service and crewing models.

Number of firefighters per 1,000 population, five-year change in workforce and percentage of wholetime firefighters

These figures are calculated using headcount. Some individuals may not work full time (FTE) and therefore these figures should be considered as indicative only.

Percentage of firefighters who identified as a woman or as being from an ethnic minority background

Please consider the following points when interpreting outcomes from this data.

  • References to ethnic minorities in our reports include people from White minority backgrounds but exclude people from Irish minority backgrounds as the workforce data is currently collected in this way.
  • We calculate local ethnic minority population data from ONS 2021 census data by local authority.
  • We calculate local female population data from the latest ONS mid-year population estimates by sex and local authority. Annual population estimates by gender and local authority are not available, so we are comparing the gender of the workforce to the sex of the population as proxy.
  • In the ‘service in numbers’ graphic the percentage of firefighters who identified as a woman or as being from an ethnic minority excludes those who opted not to disclose their ethnic origin or gender to their service.