Arson Awareness Week starts today (Monday 19 March) and fire officers in Northamptonshire are supporting the campaign by issuing some top tips on cutting the risk of deliberate fires.
The campaign, which is one of the current focuses of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), aims to raise awareness of arson and some of the steps that can be taken to potentially reduce this type of crime.
Tackling deliberate fire setting
The joint Arson Task Force (Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service) is continually working to tackle issues of deliberate fire setting across the county. One of their projects has included the recent Operation Unite, which was launched after a series of fires in Daventry.
Andy Evans, Arson Task Force Officer, said: “When arson is carried out it can pose huge risk to life as well as a significant financial cost to business and home owners.
“It is not possible to prevent all arsons from happening, but it is possible to take steps to deter potential arsonists and minimise the risk of arson. Simple measures to be taken include reporting fly-tipped rubbish in your area, as this can be a magnet for those seeking to set deliberate fires.”
Tips to cut down on arson risk:
- Ensure you include the impact of arson in your workplace fire risk assessment. A large percentage of businesses fail to return to trading following a fire.
- Report accumulated or abandoned refuse to your local council. Don’t let it become a target for arson.
- Anti-social behaviour can be a precursor to arson. Ring 101 if you witness this kind of activity or 999 if it is an emergency situation.
- To protect commercial properties, seek advice on security. Good lighting and CCTV can be deterrents to a potential arsonist.
- When closing down your business, adopt a thorough closedown procedure, remembering to lock external doors, close internal doors, make sure no unauthorised people are left on site, ensure there is no accumulation of rubbish or waste and switch on alarms.
- Think of ways in which someone could start a fire inside or outside your property. Act on any issues you find.
- Be on the lookout for unexplained fires in your neighbourhood and be ready to report them.
- As a parent or guardian, ring Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service if you find out your child has been playing with matches in your home. The Arson Task Force carries out programmes of work with young people who play with fire. Contact the team on Northampton 797160 for more information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more fire prevention advice, see the fire safety webpages.