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Control measure

Highlight trends

Control measure knowledge

A trend consists of several events that exhibit one or more features in common. This may be geographical, physical or related to other circumstances under which they occur. Trends can be identified in relation to both accidental and deliberate fires but will generally only comprise one or the other.

Failure to identify trends at the earliest possible stage can risk the possibility of the number or severity of events increasing so early identification is important. This is particularly true of deliberate fires where a series of small fires may reflect someone's growing confidence in using fire before attempting something more serious.

Accidental fire or accident trends may relate to new products or changes in the way existing products are used. Whatever the reason, investigation can assist when identifying a trend. establishing its cause, confirming common features and collecting the evidence required to influence a solution.

External liaison and information

Good liaison with other fire and rescue services and other organisations will help to establish whether the trend is localised or being seen in other areas. The liaison can take place through existing groups and communication networks (general or specialist) or established specifically for the trend depending on the nature of the issue. For example, with deliberate fires, close liaison with the police and other agencies that maintain relevant data will be important; they may have additional knowledge about individuals or activities.


Identifying and researching a trend should provide a means by which targeted interventions can be taken.

Once action has been taken, the impact on the trend should be monitored both remotely and through attendance at scenes. Care will also be required to ensure that the problem has been addressed and not just displaced. Again, effective use of analysis and fire investigation will help to confirm this.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Develop guidance, processes and support arrangements for the actions to take to highlight and take appropriate action address trends, In consultation with partner emergency services and agencies

  • Have a process to share appropriate learning and the findings of investigation with National Operational Learning

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Use all available systems to actively identify the potential for trends and share information with other agencies