Incident and Fire Investigation Reports
An Incident Report is completed after South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (“SWFRS”) attends an incident. Incidents include fires, road traffic collisions, false alarms, and other emergencies such as flooding, assisting other agencies, rescues from height etc.
Any reports that might be made to our Joint Fire Control room and any notes made as a result whilst any incidents are live, are used to generate an Incident Report. These are operational notes and change during an incident hence why an Incident Report is compiled once an incident is concluded, representing an accurate record of the incident, which is what is accessible through the below described application process. Please note that where SWFRS are notified of a controlled burn, there would not normally be an Incident Report compiled.
An Incident Report provides details on the incident, resources used, action taken by SWFRS and, where appropriate, damage specifics and any available information on the cause. The information in an Incident Report is collected primarily for statistical purposes and follows a standardised procedure that is based on a recording scheme that is specified by the Home Office. If your request is for information that is not routinely recorded, we may not be able to provide you that information.
Anonymised statistics about the causes of fires are produced to inform our in-house business planning processes, our public facing Annual Improvement and Strategic Plans (which are a requirement under the Local Government (Wales) Measure (2009) and to report to Welsh Government and auditors.
Where a more serious incident occurs, such as where a person is injured, where the cause cannot immediately be established or where the cause of a fire is thought to be suspicious or deliberate, a fire investigation maybe conducted, and a Fire Investigation Report compiled. Please note that not all incidents will result in a fire investigation or in a Fire Investigation Report being compiled.
The purpose of a fire investigation is to determine as far as reasonably practical the most probable origin, cause, and behaviour of fire and the people affected, and so that trends may be identified with a view to reduce future fire losses. The power to undertake an investigation into the causation of a fire is provided by Section 45 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. The contents of a Fire Investigation Report are based upon information possessed by SWFRS at the time of its compilation, based on fire investigation techniques and procedures, and represents a true and accurate record of a fire investigation. The contents should not necessarily be regarded as conclusive and SWFRS accepts no responsibility for any consequences of reliance on a report. All fire investigations are undertaken ethically with honesty, integrity, objectivity, and impartiality.
In circumstances where the cause of a fire is thought to be suspicious or deliberate, we have a responsibility to seek the involvement of the Police at the earliest practicable stage. We work with the Police and other partners to help identify and convict those responsible for starting or assisting with the development of the fire. Where appropriate, information gained or received by us in relation to a fire related crime or fatality will be passed onto the Police and any information the Police obtain that assists determining the cause of the fire will be passed to us, unless this prejudices their investigation.
As referenced earlier, a purpose of conducting a fire investigation includes identifying trends with a view to reduce future fire losses. Fire Investigation Reports may be passed to other agencies including His Majesty’s Coroners, Local Authorities, and the Health and Safety Executive.
An Incident or Fire Investigation Report may contain personal information and as such there are limitations on who is entitled to see the information that they contain. Therefore, on application we do take the identity of the requester into account and may subject the information requested to redactions to safeguard personal and otherwise sensitive information. Every request is assessed to make sure the requester is entitled to receive a report and to ensure that we are in compliance with data protection legislation.
Reports are normally only provided to the owners or occupiers of damaged property or vehicles, those injured during an incident (which has been recorded within the relevant incident records), or those who are acting on their behalf.
Requests from local councils, police services and other government agencies may be eligible if there is need to act, related to an incident.
Please note that we are generally unable to release any information regarding any phone calls we may have received regarding the incident, especially caller details. We are also generally unable to release information on individuals involved in an incident. We are also generally unable to comment on the habitability of a residential property, or whether any building is safe to enter, following an incident.
If you would like to apply for a copy of an Incident or Fire Investigation Report, please read and complete either the Incident Report Guidance and Application Form or the Fire Investigation Report Guidance and Application Form with as much detail as possible and submit your request along with copies of relevant identification to:
Or write to us at:
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service HQ
Forest View Business Park
Please note that we are unable to provide information on incidents that are live. Before we can send you any information, our internal record of the incident will need to be completed by the attending crew, and we will need to make sure we finish any investigations (if carried out).
SWFRS is entitled to charge for certain services by way of Section 18A of the Fire Services Act 2004. SWFRS charges for access to more comprehensive and detailed information regarding incidents that have been attended, as is common practice among fire and rescue services.
As incident information is reasonably accessible by other means, even though it is accessible only on payment, requests for Incident or Fire Investigation Reports under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 will be refused under Section 21 (i.e. information accessible to an applicant by other means), and as this exemption is absolute it is not subject to a public interest test.
This approach to charging by fire and rescue services has been reviewed and approved by the Information Commissioner’s Office as evidenced by Decision Notice FS50859031.
Personal data in Incident and Fire Investigation Reports is often limited and ordinarily relates to any victims that may have been injured at an incident. Normally, we can only disclose information to the occupier of a property, driver of a vehicle or someone operating a business at a premises at the time of an incident. However, we understand that often it is the landlord/letting agent or insurers who will request the report – in those cases, we can release the report, provided we have the consent of those individuals. If there are multiple persons involved with an incident, we require consent from all individuals to release an unredacted version, should it contain their personal data – or another legal basis to disclose their personal data. This is essential, in order to comply with data protection legislation and to protect unwanted intrusions into people’s privacy.
Under data protection legislation individuals are only entitled to a copy of their own personal data. It does not entitle them to a copy of original documents, or information that does not relate to them as an identified individual.
The cost for requesting an Incident Report is £109.14, inclusive of VAT.
The cost for requesting a Fire Investigation Report is £565.93, inclusive of VAT.
Once we have received and reviewed your application, we will provide you with the relevant details to provide payment where appropriate.
We will respond to all requests, informing you of the next steps and if we require any further information.
We aim to provide the incident report as soon as possible but this can sometimes take days, weeks, or longer, depending on the nature of the incident.
To speak to us about a report or enquire about one you’ve already submitted, you can contact us by phone on 01443232355 or by email at InformationGovernance@southwales-fire.gov.uk