NEW figures have revealed that firefighters in Hampshire attended more non-fire incidents than fires in 2019.

The Fire Brigade Union has said this difference is due in part to an increase in flood-based incidents as fire services “battle the sharp end of climate change” as well as the role crews continue to play in the pandemic efforts.

According to Home Office data, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 4,259 non-fire incidents in 2019-20, representing a 2% increase on the previous year.

This was compared to 3,883 fires, over the same period (a 12% decrease compared to last year.)

As well as flooding, examples of non-fire related incidents dealt with by crews fire include; road traffic collisions, animal-related issues, suicide attempts, hazardous substances and rescuing people who have become trapped or stranded.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Across England and Wales, fire crews responded to 172,000 non-fire related incidents in 2019-20 – a 6% rise compared to 2018-19, and 12% compared to a decade ago.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigade Union, said: “We have seen a significant increase in flooding incidents, likely linked to the mass flooding emergencies across the country over last winter.

“Widespread flooding in the last year and recent wildfires have shown that firefighters are battling the sharp end of climate change.

"Their work should be properly recognised with a statutory duty to respond to floods in England and the proper funding of their service."

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to 15,247 incidents last year in total, with fires making up just 25% of these.

When lockdown measured were introduced in March, firefighters were also allocated the task of delivering supplies to vulnerable people, an activity that has continued into September.

Mr Wrack praised the role fire crews have played in lockdown, adding that they "can be proud of stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic, all while still responding to fires and other emergencies."