Dutch fire services respond quicker to fire alarms

22/03/2011 15:00

The departure time of Dutch fire services has improved further in 2009. On average, it takes 5 minutes for fire engines to leave the station after a fire alarm has been received. In 2006, the departure time was half a minute longer.

Average response time fire brigades

Average response time fire brigades

Quicker response time, longer driving time

The response time averaged 10 minutes in 2009. Response times have been fairly stable over the past years. Remarkably, the time between receiving the alarm call and leaving the fire station has been reduced. In 2009, the average time was 3 minutes and 6 seconds, versus 3 minutes and 30 seconds in 2006.

The average time required to arrive at the scene of the fire, however, has  increased. The average driving time was 5 minutes in 2009 versus 4 minutes and 48 seconds in 2006.

More fires, fewer assistance call-outs

Throughout 2009, fire services were called out 47 thousand times to extinguish fires, as against 45 thousand times in 2008. Apart from that, fire brigades received nearly 42 thousand true assistance call-outs in 2009, i.e. 2.2 thousand fewer than in 2008.

Just like in previous years, a considerable proportion of calls were false alarms. With 68 thousand registered calls, false alarms made up 43 percent of the total number of calls made in 2009. The majority of false alarms were given by automatic fire detection systems.

Fire alarms received at fire stations by type of alarm

Fire alarms received at fire stations by type of alarm

Sharp reduction in fire fatalities

The number of lives lost in fires dropped dramatically by 40 in 2009 relative to 2008. The number of fire fatalities was low in 2009 in comparison to other years. The number of people injured in fires increased by 16 percent to approximately 1,000. About 600 people were rescued from fire scenes, of whom 400 by fire-fighters.

Expenditure on fire services doubled since 2000

Municipal expenditure on fire services and disaster relief were estimated at 1.1 billion euro in 2009. The costs concern management, personnel, equipment, fire prevention, buildings and training. Per capita expenditure is 66 euro, i.e. more than twice as much as in 2000. The aggregate inflation rate over the same period was 21 percent.

Average municipal expenditure on fire services and disaster relief per resident

Average municipal expenditure on fire services and disaster relief per resident

Wim Vissers and Vinodh Lalta