Campaign effort helps drive down summer fires

A campaign that asked people to help reduce small fires during the summer has helped cut incidents by a quarter, the fire service has revealed.

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue launched its ‘Do Your Bit’ campaign on Monday 22 July – to tie in with the six week school holidays when there is normally a spike in incidents.

The service asked people to play their part in reducing secondary fires – which involve grass, rubbish, bins and other non-insurable property – during a traditionally busy summer period.

And according to fire service analysis, the 744 of these fires that crews attended during the Do Your Bit campaign period is a 26 percent reduction compared to the average across the last three years.

“We’re prepared to deal with all eventualities but endless summer fires can be really frustrating for us. We want to be available to help people who are in real, life-threatening situations,” said T/Group Manager Matt Gillatt, head of the joint police and fire community safety team.

“Through this campaign we wanted to show the public that we were taking this issue seriously, but our core aim was to reduce these fires altogether. Clearly we’re really pleased with the result.

“This is another example of our commitment to making South Yorkshire safer and stronger and is credit to the commitment of our staff. A lot of work went into this incident reduction, with staff from various departments involved, and this work will continue.”

The campaign asked the public to help tackle arson, in particular, by taking specific action to shut down opportunities for people to start fires.

This included not leaving wheelie bins out overnight, keeping streets and gardens clear of loose rubbish and reporting details of arson to police via the 101 service.

“We knew before the campaign started what the root causes were, so we set out to tackle those. We wanted people to remove the opportunities for fires to start,” added Matt.

According to the service’s analysis, the three year average for secondary fires between 22 July and 22 September is 1007 – compared to the 744 calls dealt with this summer.

Deliberate secondary fires specifically dropped by 23 percent, going from a three year average of 802 to 620 this year.

This content was last updated on October 22nd, 2019