Social housing tenants are the group who most fear a fire breaking out at their home, although the vast majority of residents still feel safe in their homes according to the most recent English Housing Survey results.
For the first time in its history, the 2019/20 version of the survey collected data on whether people felt safe from fire in their homes. The data showed that most people feel safe in their home and do not fear that a fire will break out.
In 2019/20, 89 per cent of households said they felt safe from fire in their home and 6 per cent said that they neither agreed nor disagreed that they felt safe at home. One in 20 (5 per cent) of households said they felt unsafe in their home because they fear that a fire may break out. This varied by tenure, the type of dwelling the household lived in and the respondent’s age and ethnicity.
Renters were more likely to (strongly or tend to) agree that they did not feel safe at home because they fear that a fire may break out. Social renters were more concerned, with 10 per cent agreeing with the statement, compared to 7 per cent of private renters. Owner-occupiers were the least likely to agree that they did not feel safe at home due to the fear of a fire breaking out, at just 3 per cent.
Respondents in purpose built flats (low rise and high rise) were more likely than respondents in almost all other dwelling types to feel unsafe in their homes.
In 2019/20, 21 per cent of those in high-rise flats and 11 per cent of those in low-rise flats felt unsafe in their home. Rates for those who live in other dwelling types were much lower. For example, 5 per cent of those in small terraced houses and 4 per cent of those in bungalows (strongly or tended to) agree that they did not feel safe at home because they feared a fire breaking out.
Younger people were more likely to feel unsafe in their home, with 15 per cent of those aged 16-24 reporting they felt unsafe, higher than any other age group.
The other age groups ranged from 4 to 6 per cent. Those aged 35-44 were more likely to feel unsafe in their home (6 per cent) than 45-54 year olds (4 per cent) and those aged 65 and over (also 4 per cent).
Those from an ethnic minority background were more likely than those from a White background to report feeling unsafe at home due to fear that a fire might break out (8 per cent compared to 5 per cent).
It is likely that all these findings are related. For example, younger people and those from an ethnic minority background are more likely to be renters and renters are more likely to live in flats.
By Patrick Mooney, Editor