Brigade to launch arson campaign

A MONTH-LONG campaign aimed at
driving down arson will be launched by
Cleveland Fire Brigade this Friday (March 16).

Figures released by the Brigade for 2010/11 show that arson accounts for 76% of fire-related incidents and the cost to the local economy is in excess of £14m.

The launch of the campaign comes at a time when the number of arson incidents normally rises due to the lighter nights and Easter school holidays.

Last year there were 237 arson incidents alone across Cleveland during the fortnight Easter school holiday break.

To mark the start of the campaign, firefighters from Grangetown Fire Station will be teaming up with the Police, Coast and Country Housing and Redcar & Cleveland Council to spread their key safety messages to the local community. This includes urging anyone to report suspected arsonists to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Other campaign activities include posters, leaflets, radio advertising, competition, website and the use of social media. A programme of activities are also being held for young people over Easter.

Barry Waller, Head of Fire Engineering with Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Statistics show that there is usually a rise in arson figures at this time of the year which is why we have launched our campaign now. The large majority of fires in the Cleveland area are arson related and we are determined to do everything we can to address this issue.

“During the campaign we’ll be working closely with the Police and other key partners to get the message across that arson is a crime and can kill. It also has a devastating impact on businesses and the residents of Cleveland in lots of other ways. We estimate that arson costs the local economy over £14m a year. On top of this you have the damage it causes to the fabric of our communities and the misery it brings for everyone.”

Mr Waller went on to say that the Brigade would continue to work with the Police to bring suspected arsonists before the courts.

“We do have a close working relationship with the Police and will continue to work with them to bring the perpetrators to book. Over the last few years there have been several successful prosecutions and we will not relent in this work.

He went on to say that help from the public is a vital part of the month-long campaign.

“We need the support from the community to stop starting fires in the first place and during the campaign we’ll be educating people about the dangers as well as diverting people to a wide range of productive activities within their local community.

“Also we need support from the community to report any suspected arsonists. Calls are treated with the utmost of confidence and should be made to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For further information, visit our arson page or join us on Facebook or Twitter.

To help keep you and your family safe from fire, the Brigade provides free Home Fire Safety Visits and will fit smoke alarms if needed. Call 01429 874063 to arrange a visit to your home and you will receive specific fire safety advice for you and your family.