Welsh government report shows fall in primary fires by 70% in South Wales

Welsh government report shows fall in primary fires by 70% in South Wales

Recently, the Welsh Government published its fire and rescue incident statistics: April 2022 to March 2023 report, which includes analysis of incidents attended by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The statistics, which are sourced from the Home Office’s Incident Recording System (IRS), include information on all incidents, fire-related fatalities, and non-fatal casualties from fires.  

Since 2001-2, the South Wales region has seen a downward trend in fire-related incidents, which have fallen by almost 70%. Over the last ten years, incident numbers have been relatively stable, staying consistent at the 10,000 to 13,000 mark.1 

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service invests money, time, and considerable training to reduce and prevent the number of accidental and deliberate fires they are called to attend year on year, as part of its ongoing mission; “to make South Wales safer, by reducing risk”. At the end of October 2023, the Service published its Annual Improvement Plan for 2023/24, featuring improvement objectives which are built around this mission statement.  

According to the statistics in their Annual Improvement Plan, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service: 

  • Carried out 4,188 more home safety visits this financial year than it did last year – as part of community prevention efforts2 
  • Attended 44.9% more Special Service Incidents (SSIs) than last year2 
  • SWFRS’s Joint Fire Control took 34,682 emergency calls in 2022/23 versus 32,454 in 2021/22 – an increase of 6.8% since last year2 

Chief Fire Officer, Huw Jakeway, said: 

“If you would like to see what the incident trends across our Service are, and how we compare with our neighbouring Welsh Fire and Rescue Services, then please read the Welsh Government’s fire and rescue incident statistics. Our operational response is a major priority for us, and something I feel we excel at, although we cannot be complacent, we must all ensure we are the best we can be every day. It is essential that we maintain the highest of competence and standards, it is what our communities demand of us.  

“The statistics report is one of the best factual reports that we have regarding our emergency incident response, and we recently presented how this measures up against comparable Fire and Rescue Services in England. After the publication of our Annual Improvement Plan (AIP) at the end of October 2023, we can now share and highlight our eight key strategic themes for us to focus on for the future.” 

The Annual Improvement Plan encompasses eight key strategic themes, which feed into the structure of SWFRS’s priorities and planning. 

The plan can be viewed here. The eight key strategic themes are as follows: 

A synopsis of the findings of this year’s statistics shows as follows:  

Keeping you safe 

According to StatsWales statistics published in the Welsh Government’s Fire and rescue incident statistics:  

– In 2022-23, the number of primary fires decreased by 1% compared with the previous year. In a long-term trend, primary fires have fallen by 70% in South Wales since 2001-021 

– In 2022-23, SWFRS attended 987 school visits to educate children on fire safety advice2 

– 12,309 home safety checks were carried out, and 655 fire audits were completed2 

From education and advising on the requirements of the Fire Safety Order, to working with partners to reduce the impact of climate change on our communities (for example, increased wildfire and flooding), SWFRS is determined to keep all of South Wales safe. 

Responding to your emergency 

As first responders in the most populated area of Wales, SWFRS attended 18,705 incidents in total this financial year;  

– 6,031 were fires ranging from accidental dwelling fires, grass or wildfires and refuse fires2 

– 8,746 were false alarms2 

– 3,928 were Special Service incidents2 

Working with our partners 

Special Service Incidents (SSIs), which include water rescues and road traffic collisions and often mean working alongside emergency service partners, such as the Police or Ambulance, increased by 11% in 2022-23; according to StatsWales.1 

Protecting and enhancing our environment 

Secondary fires are mainly outdoor fires, including grassland and refuse fires, unless they involve casualties or rescues, or are attended by five or more appliances. In South Wales, secondary fires increased by 11%, despite a long-term trend of a 70% decrease in South Wales since 2001-02.1 

SWFRS attended: 

 – 1,228 grass or wildfires incidents in 2022-232 

Given the damage these pose to our environment, SWFRS became the first Fire and Rescue Service to introduce accredited training for Wildfire response tactics, in conjunction with SFJ Awards in 2023. To read more, click here. 

Using technology well 

In 2022-23; 34,682 calls were made and received by Joint Fire Control for SWFRS.2 

The Service’s Annual Improvement Plan aims to provide additional resources to support new and ongoing projects for Joint Fire Control, so that they can continue their hard work of answering large volumes of emergency calls and protecting the people of South Wales. 


Have your say on our Annual Improvement Plan 

Do you have an idea on how SWFRS can improve for 2024/25? If you do, please complete the online survey to Have Your Say – it is recommended that you take a look at the plan before responding. 

You can also have your say by e-mailing us at hys@southwales-fire.gov.uk. 

Join the SWFRS stakeholder register 

If you’d like to hear more from the Service, you can join the stakeholder register, by emailing hys@southwales-fire.gov.uk 


1Statistics taken from the Welsh Government Fire and rescue incident statistics: April 2022 to March 2023 

2Statistics taken from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Annual Improvement Plan 2022/23 and/or Annual Improvement Plan 2023/24