skip to content

Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Chief Fire Officer expresses shock at deliberate fires

16/07/2014

Arson Safety
Flames Aren't Games logo

Staffordshire’s Chief Fire Officer has expressed his shock and dismay that deliberate fires have been set during the national Fire Brigades Union strike periods, when fire cover in the county is reduced.

"It is very frustrating that at a time when fire cover is reduced that we have people thinking it is clever and fun to start deliberate blazes. Fire cover is lessened during these strikes and so whilst crews are attending these incidents it means that they are not immediately available to attend other incidents which could be life threatening. I wonder what the people responsible would think if we were delayed attending an incident such as a house fire or car crash that involved one of their own family or friends because we were busy dealing with a fire that they had started." 

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford

On Monday evening three deliberate small outdoor fires were set, a further three were set on Tuesday evening.

Monday’s fires were set in Kidsgrove, Abbey Hulton and Blurton in Stoke-on-Trent. Tuesday evening’s fires were set in Kidsgrove, Belgrave in Tamworth and Littleworth in Stafford.

Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford said: "It is very frustrating that at a time when fire cover is reduced that we have people thinking it is clever and fun to start deliberate blazes. Fire cover is lessened during these strikes and so whilst crews are attending these incidents it means that they are not immediately available to attend other incidents which could be life threatening.

"I wonder what the people responsible would think if we were delayed attending an incident such as a house fire or car crash that involved one of their own family or friends because we were busy dealing with a fire that they had started.

"The information that we were given during the emergency calls to these incidents does suggest that young people were responsible for starting some of these fires and so we’d urge parents to explain the dangers and to know what their children are up to, particularly during these strike periods which are ongoing until next Monday."

The Service has launched its high profile Flames Aren’t Games campaign ahead of the school summer holiday.

The initiative is now in its fourth year and aims to tackle anti-social behaviour which has traditionally seen an increase during the six-week break.

Since the hard-hitting scheme was rolled out, the number of small fires including grass and bin blazes has dropped significantly.

Crews dealt with 2,281 incidents of this nature in 2013 and 3,505 in 2011, when the project was initially rolled out. 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 last year. This compares to 712, 1,812 and 981 respectively in 2011.

The dates and times of the next FBU national strikes are as follows:

Wednesday 16th July
17.00 – 19.00

Thursday 17th July
06.00 – 08.00
17.00 – 19.00

Friday 18th July
06.00 – 08.00
23.00 – 01.00 on Saturday, July 19th

Saturday 19th July
11.00 - 13.00
23.00 - 01.00 on Sunday, July 20th

Sunday 20th July
17.00 - 19.00

Monday 21st July
06.00 - 08.00
17.00 - 19.00