A hard-hitting campaign which aims to combat the number of small fires being started in the county – which reap up to £8 million in damage annually – has today been launched.
“The Flames Aren’t Games campaign has proved to be a big success since it was initially launched in 2011 and we are committed to continuing to build upon what we have already achieved. Grass fires can be a particular problem during the warmer months and their tendency to spread rapidly can pose a real danger both to people and wildlife, potentially putting innocent lives at risk."
Head of Risk Reduction Glynn Luznyj.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is determined to send the number of incidents, which have historically risen during the school holidays, plummeting through its Flames Aren’t Games initiative.
Crews dealt with 2,281 small fires – including grass and bin blazes - in 2013 and 3,505 in 2011. These two years are comparable due to similar weather conditions.
There were 433 in the east of the county, 1,413 in the north and 435 in the west in 2013. This compares to 712, 1,812 and 981 respectively in 2011.
Firefighters, Community Support Officers and volunteers have been visiting schools and youth groups to tell young people about the dangers of deliberately starting small bin and grass blazes.
They will also highlight the potential punishments for anyone caught starting fires – up to two years in prison or a maximum fine of £5,000.
Posters will be displayed at community centres, youth clubs, children’s centres, schools and leisure centres across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
A special leaflet and posters have also been produced aimed at adults – both parents of teenagers and general members of the public – which will be delivered to rural areas that have previously been targeted by arsonists. The literature urges them to keep an eye open for any suspicious behaviour.
A whole host of events and activities will be taking place throughout the county to provide young people with positive ways to entertain themselves during the Easter break. Visit http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/events.asp for more details.
Head of Risk Reduction Glynn Luznyj said: “The Flames Aren’t Games campaign has proved to be a big success since it was initially launched in 2011 and we are committed to continuing to build upon what we have already achieved. Grass fires can be a particular problem during the warmer months and their tendency to spread rapidly can pose a real danger both to people and wildlife, potentially putting innocent lives at risk.
“We are doing all we can as a fire service to educate young people on the damage that can be caused by setting light to things such as grass and bins. I would urge members of the community to be our eyes and ears and to keep a lookout for any suspicious activity in their area. Also, it is absolutely vital that parents know what their children are up to during the school holidays. Being involved in this type of anti-social behaviour not only has short term effects but could have a devastating impact on young people’s long term employment prospects should they face prosecution.”