Spring fire safety warning

Grampian Fire and Rescue Service LSO David Rout.
Grampian Fire and Rescue Service LSO David Rout.

Aberdeenshire’s most senior fire officer is asking the public to help ensure our towns and villages safe as safe as possible from preventable fires this Spring season.

As we move towards the Spring and into the Easter holidays, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, David Rout, is urging the public to do what they can to prevent fire.

During the months of March and April the service traditionally sees an increase in the number of deliberate fires across the country, compared to the rest of the year.

These fires present a danger to life, property and can have a detrimental financial impact on the local economy.

In March and April 2014 there were 2,384 deliberate fires across Scotland and while the totals are down significantly from a high of 4,677 in March and April of 2011, it shows that although SFRS is making a considerable impact there is still much work to be done to reduce the number of fires further.

The service will work together with partner agencies such as Police Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Aberdeenshire Council and Crimestoppers Scotland to prevent fires and the police in highlighting the need to report fire offending.

LSO Rout, said: “We want to ensure the Easter break period is an enjoyable one for everyone, but it’s equally importantly that people remain safe from fire.

“Over the next few months we’ll typically see an increase in the amount of deliberate fires and fly-tipping. SFRS is appealing, in particular to young people as they go on school holidays for the Easter break, to consider the consequences of deliberately setting a fire.”

He added: “We would urge parents to ensure that their children know about and understand the potentially tragic consequences deliberate fires can have, as well as the impact for responding emergency services.

“As we enter the time of year where we typically see warmer weather we would also expect to see an increase in the amount of woodland, grass and forest fires.

“Our crews work hard to provide education and advice about the risks and also respond when fires do break out.

“The public can help them to keep people safe by heeding our safety advice and sharing it with others.

“Many fires, including rubbish, refuse, grass, fly­tipping and wildfires in the countryside are started deliberately or are due to careless, reckless or irresponsible behaviour.

“Fire setting is an offence – don’t accept it, report it. If you suspect someone of acting suspiciously, recklessly or irresponsibly call Scotland Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or call Police Scotland on 101.”

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, Peter Argyle, said: “While it seems incredible that anyone would deliberately set a fire without legitimate reason, it does happen in towns and in rural locations, having potentially very serious impacts on communities’ safety and wellbeing.

“Fly tipping, a highly antisocial and illegal activity in itself, can also be a fire hazard and I urge anyone looking to dispose of waste to take it to an appropriate council facility instead.

“I’d urge the public to report large amounts of waste at www.dumbdumpers.org or call the stop line on 08452 30 40 90.

“Our co-­ordinated multi­agency approach will help to ensure that we keep the public safe as we enter the Spring season.

“There is a host of information available online now at www.firescotland.gov.uk, but as ever, we welcome the public to get in touch with their local stations to ask for advice.”