Brigade dealing with more 'no fire' calls
Fire crews in the North East were called to a record number of flood incidents and road accidents last year, figures reveal.
The Fire Brigades Union says it has seen a surge in widespread flooding nationally, as crews “battle the sharp end of climate change”.
Home Office data shows Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service responded to 3,186 non-fire incidents in 2019-20.
That was a four per cent increase on the 3,055 incidents in the previous year and the highest number since comparable records began a decade earlier.
Fire crews were called to a total of 16,776 incidents last year - with fires making up just 42% (7,070) – down seven per cent on the year before.
Non-fire incidents include false alarms, flooding incidents, road accidents, animal assistance, suicide attempts, people being stranded or trapped and dealing with hazardous substances.
Nationally, fire crews responded to 172,000 incidents of this kind in the last year – a six per cent rise rise.
Figures show the latest increase has been driven by crews attending more flooding and multi-agency incidents, which involve other emergency services.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, 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.
He added: "Their work should be properly recognised with a statutory duty to respond to floods and the proper funding of their service."