Don’t accept it, report it

An update on the work being carried out locally by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was given to Forfar Community Council on Thursday evening.

Watch manager Roy King of the Forfar station explained the service has entered its second year as a single service and has achieved the savings it set out to make.

It continues to build on partnership work and has engaged with groups within the community to make them aware of what the service is doing to reduce the risk through fire.

The service has produced a seasonal community safety calendar, and for April the focus is on rubbish and refuse.

Officer King said: “We are asking communities to help ensure vital fire and rescue resources are able to get to wherever they are needed.

“Each spring, due to the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of a minority, there is a substantial increase in the number of fires involving refuse, rubbish and fly-tipped material. Some of these incidents are started by children and young people who are risking not only their own lives but also those of the wider public and the firefighters sent in response.”

A statement issued by assistant chief officer Lewis Ramsay, SFRS director of prevention and protection added: “Anyone involved in starting these fires needs to know their criminal actions could cause a tragedy. Our message to the public is simple: fire setting in an offence, don’t accept it, report it.”

Every year Scotland’s firefighters attend more than 10,000 fires involving refuse or rubbish, 90 per cent of which are started deliberately. The financial impact is estimated to be £22 million per year but SFRS is clear the incidents risk a much higher cost as the fires could see somebody killed or seriously injured.

Having to tackle refuse and rubbish fires means it could take crews longer to attend serious incidents - with potentially tragic consequences.