With the school holidays upon us the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) are appealing for parents, carers and young people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire.
Director of Prevention and Protection, Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Lewis Ramsay, said: "During the summer break there is often a rise in deliberate fires. These can include refuse and wheelie bin fires, fires in stairwells, closes and derelict buildings as well as grass and countryside fires.
“With early weather predictions suggesting we could be set for a hot, dry summer, communities could be particularly affected this year. We are appealing for the community to help us reduce these incidents."
Mr Ramsay added: "Many young people will have engaged with SFRS personnel via school visits, youth programmes and public events. We want young people to remember our message that starting fires is never harmless fun.
"Deliberate fires can overstretch local fire and rescue service resources, taking firefighters away from other incidents and putting lives at risk. Parents and carers can help too by discussing summer fire safety with young people.
"Every hour, every day, there is a house fire in Scotland. We need firefighters to be free to tackle real emergencies. Together we can work towards a fire free summer."
The service is also urging anyone in the community who may have information about a deliberate fire, or who may be responsible for setting it, to report it straight away.
Mr Ramsay said: "Every deliberate fire has victims, costs and consequences. The core public safety and call to action message is that fire setting is an offence. Don’t Accept It, Report It.
"If you know anything about fires that have been started in your area contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You won’t have to give your name or go to court."
SFRS is often called to attend fires which have been started deliberately in stairwells, closes or wheelie bins and ACO Ramsay is keen to highlight the danger these pose.
He said: "Refuse left lying in the street or in a common stairwell or close present a potential target for fire setters. Make sure you don’t leave refuse or wheelie bins against any property or building."
He added: "Deliberately set fires are dangerous and put people's lives and property in danger.
"By keeping wheelie bins out of sight, stored away from the building and, if possible, behind locked gates these risks can be reduced. We would ask residents and businesses to follow these precautions to eliminate the threat of deliberate wheelie bin fires.
"SFRS wants communities to enjoy the summer and work in partnership with the fire service to help make this a fire free summer."
There is further information about deliberate fires at the SFRS website www.firescotland.gov.uk
Last year, firefighters in Scotland attended around 14,196 fires in bins, skips, fly tipped waste, derelict buildings, dry grass and heath land. With an estimated average cost of £2,000 for attendance at such incidents, the cost to the Service and our communities is a staggering £28.4 million. Approximately 81% (12,238) of these fires were deliberate (source: Fire Statistics Scotland, 2012-13, 8 October 2013, page 41, Table 9.)
- DO report any build-up of rubbish to your local council or community fire station. This will help ensure it can be removed and prevent fires
- DO report any fly-tipping direct to your local council or to the National Dumb Dumpers Stop line on 0845 230 40 90