In June, the Home Office published a report on the economic and social cost of fire in England
The estimated total economic and social cost of fire in England, in the year ending March 2020, was £12.0 billion. Of this, £3.2 billion was labelled as ‘marginal cost’ (or as the cost incurred following a fire).
Breaking this down to an individual level, the unit marginal cost of all fires attended was £20,900. The report splits ‘cost’ into three separate categories:
- Anticipation – measures designed to either prevent fires from occurring or protective measures to mitigate the damage and impact of fires.
- Consequence – direct and indirect costs that occur as a result of fire, such as property damage, loss of business, human injury, and fatalities.
- Response – cost of fire and rescue services responding to incidents.
As passive fire protection experts, we believe that increasing the preventative ‘Anticipation’ costs (or defensive expenditure in buildings) directly correlates to a reduction in the costs incurred as a result of fires.
The government does seem to recognise this in their budgeting, however, with the largest ‘cost’ being attributed to Anticipation, with approximately:
- £4.6 billion coming from defensive expenditure in buildings
- £2.0 billion coming from defensive expenditure in consumer goods
- And £1.4 billion coming from fire and rescue service expenditure in anticipation and preparation for fires.
It is promising to see such investment into anticipator methods such as passive fire protection products. These products play a significant role, slowing the spread of fire and smoke and buying more time for fires to be identified and extinguished — thus minimising damage costs.
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