Safer summer 2020 campaign launched to deter fire setting among young people

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By Angeline Sneddon

Firefighters responded to more than 1,700 deliberate secondary fires last summer, latest figures show.

Crews were mobilised hundreds of times between June 24 and August 26, 2019 after the fires took hold in derelict buildings, grassland and refuse.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is now urging everyone to enjoy a #SaferSummer2020 in the week that would have marked the traditional start of the school summer holidays in many areas and as movement restrictions ease amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest statistics show that during the two-month period last summer, there were a total of 1,761 deliberate secondary fires across the country.

This is compared to 3,200 incidents during the same period the previous year – but SFRS Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Alasdair Perry said there is no room for complacency.

DACO Perry said: “During the summer we tend to see a rise in fire setting across Scotland, often by children and young people.

“These include refuse and wheelie bin fires, fires in stairwells or derelict buildings, as well as grass and countryside fires made worse by hot and dry conditions.

“This presents a very real risk not only to those who set fires but to communities – fires can cause death and injury, spread to nearby buildings, affect the economy and also have a very real impact on areas of natural beauty and wildlife.

“This has been a difficult time for communities and the emergency services are already working hard to keep people safe – attending deliberate fires not only puts our own firefighters at needless risk but can have an impact on our resources.

“We want everyone to enjoy a safer summer and I would urge parents and carers to discuss the dangers of fire setting with young people in their lives to ensure they are kept safe. Be aware of where young people are going and what they’re doing.”

Community Safety Minister Ash Denham said: “I offer my warmest thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who have continued to provide an incredible service and support communities through such a difficult time.

“I am very happy to support this SFRS campaign to reduce deliberate fires. Responding to these fires uses up vital firefighter time and resources, which are even more important to protect whilst the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

“I would urge everyone to think how they can help stop deliberate fires being started – by speaking to other people about the real dangers to themselves, their communities and firefighters affected by every fire that needs to be attended.”

Please visit the Safer Summer section of our website for advice and information.

Share your #SaferSummer2020 activities with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service @fire_scot on Twitter and @ScottishFireAndRescueService on Facebook

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