Now it’s October half term, Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding residents about the dangers of deliberate fires.
The holiday generally sees a rise in fire-related incidents and it is hoped that by working with communities and engaging with young people, community initiatives and awareness raising will help to keep these to a minimum.
Talking about the issue, Arson Reduction Officer Rebecca Roberts, said: “Unfortunately at this time of year we tend to see a rise in deliberate fire setting. To tackle this we have developed a robust arson reduction programme which works at a very local level through our ASBIT team (Anti-Social Behaviour Intervention Team) and BIKE teams (Bicycle Intervention Knowledge and Education). We have been speaking at assemblies at both primary and secondary schools across the county to educate young people about fire safety at this time of year. For teenagers this has included the important message that arson is a crime and has real consequences.
“For anyone who has seen any fire setting or suspicious activity in their area our message is this: see it, report it! Please contact the police on 101 with any relevant information. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at their website.
“We would also like to appeal to the owners of derelict or unused properties to make sure that they are secure, as they can be a target for arsonists. You can find information and advice at our website on how to do this (http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/health-and-safety-for-businesses/business-fire-safety) or call us to discuss any concerns you may have with the Arson Reduction Team on 02476483205.”
Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Fire and Community Safety, Howard Roberts, added: “It is so important within our communities that we all keep our eyes peeled, particularly when there is a greater chance of deliberate fires. Those starting them may not realise that they can easily get out of control causing serious injury or damage to property. Deliberate fires also draw resources away from real emergencies, when our fire crews should be able to focus on keeping our communities safe.”