South Yorkshire’s firefighters have responded to less deliberate fires so far this summer than in recent years, according to figures released by the county’s fire service.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) says it has attended 997 deliberate fire incidents across May, June and July this year – a seven percent reduction compared to the 1,073 attended during the same period last year.
Against the average for May, June and July across the last three years – which stands at 1,404 incidents – the reduction is actually 29 percent.
However, with several weeks left of the school holidays, a period which often sees an increase in fire service call outs, officers are still calling on the public to be vigilant.
In particular, SYFR is urging people to report anything they know about deliberate fire-setting via their FireStoppers service – which was launched earlier this year.
Much like its sister, Crimestoppers, all reports that go into FireStoppers are totally anonymous. Residents simply need to call 0800 169 5558 or visit firestoppersreport.co.uk.
“This may come as a surprise to some, but deliberate fires are amongst the most common types of incident that our firefighters attend, yet they are often entirely needless,” said Group Manager Matt Gillatt, deputy head of the joint police and fire community safety team.
“We put lots of effort in to trying to stamp out arson attacks and it is great to see that what we are doing – a combination of our new FireStoppers service and work from our community safety staff and operational crews – is having the desired effect in reducing incident numbers.
“However, there is always more work to do, and one deliberate fire is one too many. The summer is not over yet and this can be a really busy time for us, especially when the weather hots up.
“Deliberate fire-setting not only endangers life and wastes our time, it can also massively destroy local parks, facilities and landscapes, so I would really encourage people to keep using our FireStoppers service to help us help you.”
You can report information about deliberate fire-setting to FireStoppers, totally anonymously, by calling 0800 169 5558 or visiting firestoppersreport.co.uk.
As well as cracking down on arson, fire officers are also asking people to be extremely careful when visiting the moors, when using disposable BBQs and when around open water.
“All of these things are a big focus for us. Our ask, in each three instances, is simple – please just be careful and treat your surroundings with respect,” added Matt.
“Don’t use disposable BBQs and leave litter on the moors or in tinder dry areas, and never jump in to open water – only ever swim outdoors if you know what you are doing.”