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Firefighters save public over one billion pounds in one year

FIREFIGHTERS in Greater Manchester saved the public over one billion pounds last year, according to research showing the impact of emergency responses.

Data recorded by firefighters for a Cost Benefit Analysis study also revealed that for every £1 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) spent on responding to fires, £18 was saved in lives and property.

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As part of the study, which took place between April 2014 and March 2015, firefighters were asked to assess each primary fire they attended and record information about lives saved and estimates about the potential for fires spreading within the affected and adjoining properties.

According to the report, GMFRS is estimated to have saved Greater Manchester £224.2m in lives, £371.8m in property saved where a fire occurred and a further £672.5m in neighbouring properties that would have been damaged by the spread of fire if firefighters hadn’t attended. The total amount saved was a staggering £1.27bn in just one year.

Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “Public value is at the heart of the work of GMFRS. Everything we do is about protecting and improving the lives of people who live, work and visit the county.

“Our public satisfaction surveys tell us our communities are delighted with the service we provide, but until now we haven’t been able to put a cost on the value we provide the community.

“Our Cost Benefit Analysis is a new way of measuring our service and we’re delighted with the results. For every £1 the public spends funding our emergency response, they get £18 of value – that’s £1.27bn of savings to the local economy.

“That figure doesn’t even include our fire safety work that is preventing incidents occurring in the first place.

“Our work so far has only looked at fires in homes and businesses but we hope that we can expand this in the future.”

Cost Benefit Analysis has been carried out by other public-funded organisations as a way of assessing value provided, including the US Navy and has been independently verified as a robust method of evaluating.

The data shows there were 604 people rescued or injured in building fires in Greater Manchester during 2014/15, 16 per cent of injuries were sustained fighting the fire, six per cent was because the person returned to the fire, two per cent occurred as a result of rescuing people and one per cent of injuries were the result of rescuing property or animals.

Of the 3,195 primary building fires attended by GMFRS during 2014/15, five per cent spread to the adjacent property. This compares with 25 per cent of incidents in which crew believed the fire would have spread to other properties, if we had not intervened.

Moreover, operational crew believe the fire could have spread beyond the building of fire origin in 25 per cent of incidents, potentially affecting an additional 2,403 buildings.

The Service is able to attach a cost to this assessment using average property values and Government economic data. For example, the value of a human life has been obtained from the Cost of Fire Report 2008 and is currently valued at £1.65m.

The cost of GMFRS’ response service is based on annual firefighting and rescue operation costs, which total £71.2m a year.

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:27
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