Bonfire Call-outs Drop by 28%

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The bonfire period, from October 19 to the morning of November 7, saw a record low for call-outs to nuisance fires across Merseyside.

It follows a campaign run by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service and its partners including councils, Merseyside Police, the Probation Service and social landlords.

There was a drop of 28.1%, compared to 2011, in the number of call-outs for fires from anti-social behaviour, classed as deliberate secondary fires, attended by firefighters between October 19 and up to midnight on the morning of November 7.

During the period the Knowsley district saw the largest percentage decrease of 51.3% and the Liverpool district saw the largest figure drop of 67 less call-outs attended for deliberate secondary fires.

During the period Wirral saw a 34.4% drop with 32 fewer nuisance fire call-outs attended, compared to the same period last year.

There was a 72.1% drop in the number of anti-social behaviour fires attended on November 6 across Merseyside, compared to 2011. Sefton and St Helens saw the largest percentage decreases in the number of call-outs for this type of fire on November 6 with both seeing an 85.7% drop.

The Liverpool district saw a decrease of 61.4%, with 27 fewer call-outs attended, on November 6.

It follows a bonfire clear-up campaign removing tonnes of combustible materials, which was run by the fire service and its partners including councils, Merseyside Police, the Probation Service and social landlords.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service has been working closely with partner agencies to reduce the risk of nuisance fires. This has included teams being out throughout the period clearing hazardous rubbish in communities, which could have been used as fuel for fires.

The figure for the busiest time of the year for the Service is also the lowest for the period in at least the last six years and follows a record low last year.

James Berry, a Group Manager in Prevention and Protection at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who is leading the bonfire safety strategy this year, said: “Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is delighted with the figures following the joint campaign with our partners to reduce deliberate secondary fires during the run-up to Bonfire Night and over the bonfire period. Our teams have been working hard as part of our bonfire campaign to clear streets of items and rubbish that could have been used for fires.

“Our firefighters, advocates, youth engagement team and other staff work all-year round to spread fire safety messages and information and drive down deliberate fires across Merseyside, making communities safer and stronger. While firefighters are dealing with such incidents as deliberate wheelie bin fires they are unavailable for more important calls where people may really need our help or rescuing.

“We have worked extremely hard this year to get these successful figures, particularly during a time of dry weather. It is a fantastic result.”

The bonfire night safety campaign included tackling the sale of illegal bangers and illegal fireworks to children, clearing potentially combustible rubbish and organising diversionary activities.

In Liverpool, over the last two weeks, the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Community Prevention Team has cleared an estimated 20 tonnes of combustible materials, reducing the risk of deliberate fires and making communities safer.

Out of the estimated 20 tonnes, around seven were cleared with help from a group of sixth form students from Alsop High School in Queen’s Drive, Liverpool, who received manual handling training and helped on three separate days including November 3 and November 4.

Tippers were also out removing potentially hazardous rubbish from communities, as part of a community skip campaign.

On November 6 this year there were 29 fires from anti-social behaviour across the Merseyside area, which were attended by firefighters, down from 104 in 2011.

This year, between October 19 and midnight morning of November 7 there were 410 deliberate secondary fires attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Between October 19 and midnight morning of November 7 last year there were 570.

On Bonfire Night on November 5 this year there were 73 fires from anti-social behaviour across the Merseyside area, which were attended by firefighters, down from 90 in 2011 and 117 in 2010. This was a decrease of 18.9% between 2011 and 2012.

Bonfire and firework safety messages have this year been backed by sports stars including Kenny Dalglish, Everton FC players Shane Duffy and Victor Anichebe, boxers David Price, Derry Matthews and Tony Dodson and Liverpool FC U21 goalkeeper Jamie Stephens and Liverpool FC Academy player Nathan Quirk.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has also issued safety messages through its website as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Community Prevention Teams and Firefighters, along with police, have also visited hundreds of primary and secondary schools across Merseyside to spread safety messages and information about the law surrounding fireworks.

The Fire and Rescue Service’s charity arm, Fire Support Network, has also been helping to clear combustible materials from the streets of Merseyside and stage cage football events across Merseyside including events on the Wirral and in Knowsley. 
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