Fewer fires outdoors, more indoors

30/10/2008 15:00

The Dutch fire services received 47 reports of fires in 2007. This is 5 percent fewer than in 2006. The number of outdoor fires in particular decreased. The number of indoor fires reached its highest level for ten years, however. The fire services were quicker to respond in 2007 than in previous years.

Number of fires

Number of fires

Wet summer leads to fewer fires

The number of outdoor fires fell to 31 thousand in 2007, 8 percent fewer than in 2006. The number of fires on road verges, in woods and heath land and in nature areas fell by most. To a certain extent, this was a consequence of the wet weather in the summer months of 2007.

Most outdoor fires were in communal containers for paper, refuse bins and cars (including scrap cars). Nearly half of outdoor fires were the result of arson or vandalism.

Highest number of indoor fires for ten years

Nearly 15 thousand indoor fires were reported in 2007. This is the highest number since 1997. Over one fifth of indoor fires are the result of faulty appliances or incorrect use of household appliances, such as tumble driers, deep fryers, TVs or cookers. But arson is also a regular cause of indoor fires: 11 percent of all indoor fires were deliberately started in 2007.

Indoor fires by cause, 2007

Indoor fires by cause, 2007

Response times slightly better

For the first time in a number of years, the response time of the fire services improved slightly in 2007. For  fires in residential buildings, the target response time is 8 minutes. The fire services met this norm in 31 percent of fires in 2007, compared with 30 percent in 2006.

This improvement was entirely gained from the shorter average time between the moment the emergency centre receives the alarm and the moment the vehicle leaves the fire station. The average driving time from the fire station to the scene of the fire was slightly longer than in 2006, on the other hand.

The share of fires with a response time of less than 8 minutes varied between the provinces, from 15 percent in Zeeland to 40 percent in South Holland. The fire services were quickest to reach the fires in the four largest cities: for nearly half of reported fires there they were at the scene in within 8 minutes.

Response times for fires, 2007

Response times for fires, 2007

Vinodh Lalta and Wim Vissers