3. Changes to data collection and revision of data
3.1 Change in data collection
In April 2009, Scotland started to use the Incident Recording System (IRS); this is an electronic system which captures data for all incidents that Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) attend. The main advantage of this system is that all incidents, including non-fire incidents, are recorded fully. Previously the data capture for national statistics meant that fires involving fatal and non-fatal casualties were collected in full but other primary fires were sampled for data entry (re-typing into the database) and weighted to Fire and Rescue Services totals. Secondary fires were only collected as a monthly aggregated total and special services were not included.
The transfer to the new system has managed to maintain the majority of main fire trends even though the data capture system has increased the sub-categories collected. In some cases, the sub-categories cannot be matched between this system (IRS) and the previous paper collection (FDR1) and the trend data has been affected. Where this has happened this information has been noted with an asterisk (*) and a footnote is supplied that refers to the annex explaining this change.
3.2 Revisions on 2010-11 data
Since the introduction of IRS, Fire Statistics Scotland has been published using the most current year of data in provisional form. This allows us to provide timely data, which is then finalised in future publications. Prior to IRS data, finalising the dataset took up to two years, mainly due to investigations into fire casualties. A consultation of our data users in 2011-12 established that they felt that the benefits of a more timely publication on provisional data outweighed the provisional status of the data. As such there is a revision policy in place for previous years' data (this is explained further in section 6.3.1). There can be some notable revisions in casualties but revisions in incidents are typical negligible at Scotland level.
In the Scottish publication, the provisional data in tables and charts will be annotated with a p. Where the data has been revised since last published - as in the case of 2010-11 and 2009-10 data, an r will be used to annotate tables and charts. Fatal and non-fatal casualties will be described as provisional throughout the body of this text, but for ease of reading, provisional figures for fires, false alarms and special services will not explicitly be described at each mention.
In 2010-11 the change between provisional and revised figures for incidents for Scotland was small but there was a notable change for fatal casualties. This is to be expected as a number of fire investigations were still in process when the figures were provisionally published last year.
| 2010-11 || Number difference between first published and revised || Percentage difference between first published and revised |
| Primary fire || -33 || -0.2% |
| Secondary fires || 45 || +0.2% |
| False alarms || 1,069 || +2.1% |
| Chimney fires || 31 || +2.0% |
| Special services || 22 || +0.2% |
| Fatal casualties || 5 || +10.6% |
| Non-fatal casualties || 34 || +2.6% |
3.3 New tables
A number of new tables have been introduced this year. These tables were introduced following requests from various data users through our data consultation of Fire Statistics Scotland, suggestions made from the UK Statistics Authority and to allow UK comparison.
Fire false alarms by location: Fire false alarms, by location, at a national level have been included in Table 4b, 4c and 4d. This information has only been available at national level since the introduction of IRS.
Casualties from special services: Introduction of casualties from special services allows UK comparison with Fire Statistics, Great Britain. This information has been introduced at Scotland level in Table 7.
Rate of casualties per million population for Scotland, England and Wales: This information has been provided for fatal and non-fatal casualties, both including and excluding pre-cautionary check ups, at a national level for the last ten years. (Tables 10, 10a and 10b)
Number of fire rescues: This information has been provided at a national level for the last 3 years and is split into rescues involving casualties and rescues without casualties. There is also a split of rescue by age range at national level. (Tables 16, 16a and 16b)
Primary and secondary fires by number of appliances attending: This information is provided at national level for the last 3 years and FRS level for 2011-12 (Tables 25 and 25a).