FIREFIGHTERS in north Wales were called out to only slightly fewer incidents between April and December compared to last year, despite the majority of it seeing lockdown restrictions in place.
A report presented to the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service this week noted that the service attended 3,600 emergency incidents and false alarms during the first three quarters of 2020/21 – representing a drop of 3.7% on the same period in 2019/20 (3,737).
Unsurprisingly perhaps, the period saw a substantial drop in call-outs related to road accidents and deliberate fires, but also an increase in small outdoor fires, which was partially blamed on the closure of recycling centres during much of the time in question.
The report added: “The reduction in RTCs can be attributed to fewer vehicles on the roads during lockdowns. Interestingly, however, the percentage of those RTCs where the service was called upon to extricate or release people from vehicles remained consistent with previous years, at 37%.
“The reduction in deliberate fires combines the continuation of a steady downward trend in deliberate primary fires achieved over the past five years with a 36% reduction in deliberate secondary fires.
“However, calls to small fires in gardens and loose rubbish during lockdowns contributed to a 39% increase in accidental secondary fires.”
The number of call-outs to road traffic collisions fell dramatically from 144 to 81, 30 of which requiring someone to be cut out of the vehicle.
But the number of deaths from accidental fires in homes rose from three to four.
Addressing the Executive Panel Meeting, assistant chief officer Shân Morris added: “During the first quarter, secondary fires were up by almost 20% on the previous year, which are small open air fires resulting in no injuries.
“During the first lockdown it was clear there were more people than usual based from home and using their time to do some work about the house, clearing the garden or burning rubbish in the back garden.
“Sometimes this was down to the recycling centres being closed, and of course some of those fires got out of control and saw call-outs.”
The report was accordingly noted by members of the fire authority.