City of Edinburgh Local Senior Officer (LSO) Kenny Rogers urges the public to do what they can to prevent fire.
Presenting figures at the Edinburgh Council Scrutiny Committee last week, LSO Rogers said the City of Edinburgh had seen a 43% increase in deliberate fires from the same period last year.
LSO Rogers said: “ In addition to the increase in deliberate fires during the period April to December 2015 we are now approaching Spring which, unfortunately, usually sees an increase in the number of deliberate fires across the country. These incidents range from rubbish and refuse fires to vehicles being set alight.”
Deliberately set fires are dangerous; they waste time and money, and keep SFRS crews away from real emergencies. Such incidents place an unnecessary burden on SFRS resources, in what is already a busy time of year for firefighters.
As well as potentially delaying attendance at a more serious incident, fire setting can result in injury, property damage and environmental pollution.
LSO Rogers continued: “We want everyone to enjoy a safe and pleasant Easter break. During Spring our personnel will be working around the clock. Not just fighting fires, but visiting schools and youth groups to engage with young people.”
“We would urge parents to ensure that their children know about and understand the potentially tragic consequences deliberate fires can have, as well as the impact for responding emergency services. Fire setting is an offense – don’t accept it, report it.”
SFRS work together with partner agencies Police Scotland and Crimestoppers Scotland to prevent fires and support Police Scotland in highlighting the need to report fire offending.
LSO Rogers said: “We shall continue to work with our Police Scotland colleagues to ensure any deliberate fire is fully investigated.
“We ask local residents and businesses to ensure that rubbish does not accumulate outside their property and that wheelie bins are stored in a safe and secure area until collection. Bin and rubbish fires can quickly take hold and spread to buildings and vehicles, posing a major risk to life and property.
“Anyone with information on deliberate fires can contact Police Scotland on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 55 111.”
There was a reduction of fire-related casualties between April and December, 2015.
Crews tended to 88 fire-related casualties. This is a reduction on 2014 figure when the total was 109.
The LSO said: “The SFRS vision is to have no fire fatalities or casualties throughout Scotland and we are striving to achieve this through partnership working with Edinburgh Council, Police Scotland, Health, Housing Associations and local landlords, and these links will continue to develop and implement risk reduction strategies."
Crews regularly visit houses and provide free Home Fire Safety Visits which helps to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities through early intervention which is instrumental in contributing to safer communities. This partnership approach will contribute to the reduction of the number of casualties particularly from unintentional harm in the home.
There is lots of information available online at www.firescotland.gov.uk and residents wanting further advice in relation to keeping their home safe from fire can contact us for a FREE Home safety visit on 0800 0731 999, or text ‘FIRE’ to 80800.
SIX WAYS YOU CAN JOIN SCOTLAND'S FIGHT AGAINST FIRE
1. Being aware of strangers loitering in your street – if they do so for some time, inform Police Scotland on the non-emergency number 101.
2. Contacting Police Scotland via the non-emergency number 101 to share information on anyone who deliberately sets fires. Alternatively, give the information anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
3. Reporting any build-up of rubbish to your local authority or community fire station. This will help ensure it can be removed and prevent fires.
4. Ensuring you are aware of where the children or young people you look after are – and what they’re doing.
5. Making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks of playing with fire and the consequences of deliberately setting a fire.
6. Reporting any fly-tipping directly to your local authority or to the National Dumb Dumpers Stop line on 0845 230 40 90.