Clacks fire chief vows to drive forward prevention efforts following increase in deliberate fires

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Deliberate fires have increased in the region, but accidental dwelling fires have reduced.

Clackmannanshire’s fire chief has welcomed a reduction in accidental dwelling fires – but vowed to drive forward prevention efforts following a rise in deliberate fires.

The latest statistics for the region show that 100 instances of deliberate fires were recorded between April 2017 and March 2018 – an increase of 25 on the previous year.

And, while the vast majority of these incidents involved small grass or refuse fires, Roddie Keith - the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for the area – has outlined his determination to combat the trend.

He explained: “Our firefighters will always be primed to respond to reports of fire, but those who set deliberate fires need to be aware their actions can have devastating consequences.

“Deliberately setting a fire can pull crews away from other incidents and can put firefighters and members of the public at risk.

“While we have capacity in our system to respond appropriately, the frustrating thing is that setting a fire is an entirely unnecessary act.

“That is why we are so keen to work with our communities to drive home the message that setting a fire is not funny or clever, it’s dangerous and needless.

"Education will always play a key role in our efforts. Indeed getting the message across that this is not acceptable is crucial in working towards reducing this type of behaviour.”

The figures were laid bare as part of a report to go before Clackmannanshire Council’s Regulatory Committee on Thursday, November 22.

The same regional report shows that accidental dwelling fires have, however, significantly reduced in the Clacks area.

Accidental dwelling fires fell by almost one third with 46 instances recorded between April 2017 and March this year.

During the same period, firefighters carried out more than 500 free home fire safety visits.

LSO Keith explained: “It’s always pleasing to note such a reduction, but we can’t be complacent.

“Our firefighters have been working hard to help people remain safe in their homes.

“Their community-driven efforts have seen 564 free home fire safety visits carried out at homes across Clackmannanshire.

“These visits are the very cornerstone of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s preventative effort - as they can help reduce casualty numbers by ensuring the presence of a working smoke detector and a dedicated fire safety plan.

“We are keen to work with everyone within our communities, but particularly society’s more vulnerable residents.

“I’d urge people from every background to get in touch with us directly to organise for a visit to their home.”

For further information on arranging a free HSFV for you, a loved one or a vulnerable member of the community then please go to our Home Fire Safety section.

Alternatively you can call 0800 0731 999 or text "FIRE" to 80800 from your mobile phone.

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