Fire service attending to more non-fire incidents

© Hollandse Hoogte / Caspar Huurdeman Fotografie
In 2019, the control room of The Netherlands Fire Service processed 238 thousand reported incidents, i.e. 3 percent less than in the previous year. The number of reports and call-outs was down for both fire and non-fire incidents. Call-outs for non-fire incidents are an increasingly important part of the work performed by the fire service. These include rescue assistance after accidents, CPR services as well as rescue work related to flooding, storm damage or entry/exit. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on newly released figures.

Fire service call-outs (x 1,000)
JaartalNon-fire incidentsFire incidentsFire incidents reported by phoneFire incidents reported automatically
201458.9291.1638.6452.52
201567.2285.0038.5646.44
201662.1479.5638.7040.86
201766.9872.9838.4434.54
201872.8876.0244.1831.84
2019*71.3672.1641.7430.42
*provisional figures

In 2019, the fire service received more than 122 thousand requests for emergency assistance, 3.3 percent less than in the previous year. As part of the reported incidents were dealt with by the control room, the fire service was called out 71 thousand times; this is 2 percent less than in the previous year, but 21 percent (12.5 thousand) more relative to 2014.

Rescue services take up an increasingly large share in the activities of The Netherlands Fire Service. In 2014, just under 40 percent of the call-outs were related to non-fire incidents, versus nearly 50 percent in 2019.

The Netherlands Fire Service, 2019In 2019, the Netherlands Fire Service received 237,860 reported incidents, of which 122,380 were requests for emergency assistance and 115,480 were fire alarms. Requests for emergency assistance led to 71,360 call-outs, which resulted in 66,500 fire brigade rescues. In 62,000 cases, the fire service was on location to lend assistance. The number of fire alarms led to 72,140 call-outs, with the fire service turning out 65,620 times for fires and 55,940 fire service rescues. The Netherlands Fire Service, 2019237,860122,380115,48071,36066,50062,000Reported incidentsFireRescue services72,14065,62055,940

More call-outs for health emergencies or accidents

Over the past few years, the fire service has attended to cases with people becoming unwell or when CPR was needed. In 2014, the fire service was called out 7.3 thousand times to attend to health emergencies, as against 14.5 thousand times last year.

More and more call-outs were accident-related. In 2014, the fire service received slightly over 9.4 thousand accident-related alarms; this number had gone up to 12.6 thousand (+34 percent) five years later.

Emergency assistance is provided not only during accidents on the road and railways but also accidents in and around the home.

More alarms in the event of storm damage or flooding

In recent years, the fire service has attended to more incidents in the living environment of people, including storm damage or flooding. A peak year was 2015, when a storm raged over the Netherlands in July.

In 2019, the fire service was called out in more than 17 thousand cases, representing a 66-percent increase on 2014.

Services to citizens playing a larger role in recent years

Aside from more and more call-outs involving accidents, acute health problems or flooding, fire brigades are increasingly providing rescue services. Examples include rescuing people trapped in lifts, rescuing animals from trees or ditches, or effecting entry/exit incidents. Last year, the number of alarms in this category was 10.6 percent higher than in 2014.

Fire service call-outs for non-fire incidents (x 1,000)
JaartalLiving environmentServicesHealthAccident
201410.2515.307.319.39
201517.3715.968.679.47
201610.4916.6910.659.89
201714.3615.4313.0411.87
201816.8217.7014.4812.56
2019*17.0516.9214.4912.62
*provisional figures

Fewer fire call-outs due to automatic fire alarm systems

The number of fire alarms received by the fire service has shown a downward trend in recent years. In 2019, this number stood at more than 115 thousand, 2 percent down on the previous year. Nearly two-thirds (72 thousand) of these incidents resulted in actual call-outs; this is 5 percent less than in 2018.

56.4 percent of the fire alarms originate from automatic fire alarm systems. Last year, over half of these automatic alarms were already dealt with by the control room operators themselves. This resulted in around 30 thousand alarms raised at the fire stations, i.e. a 42-percent drop relative to 2014. Last year was the fifth consecutive year of decline.

In 2019, the number of fire incidents reported by phone dropped slightly to around 50 thousand, relative to one year previously. 8.6 thousand incidents were handled by the control room while nearly 42 thousand resulted in an actual call-out.

Slight drop in response times

In 2019, the fire service had a slightly shorter average response time than in 2018. On average, it took 7.8 minutes before the firefighters arrived at the scene, i.e. 0.1 minute (6 seconds) faster than in 2018. Both the average turnout time and driving time were slightly shorter, while the average alarm time was slightly longer.