The bonfire period saw a record low for call-outs to nuisance fires across Merseyside following a campaign run by the fire service and its partners including councils, Merseyside Police, the Probation Service and social landlords.
There was a drop of 18% 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 6, compared to 2011, which was itself a record.
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 follows a record low last year and despite relatively good weather.
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 and teams will be out again today to help reduce the risk of deliberate fires and we will release more figures tomorrow.
“Although Bonfire Night has passed there could still be materials in your community that could be at risk of being set on fire. Remember, to report an unsafe bonfire or storage of bonfire materials for removal, to arrange a Home Fire Safety Check and for arson prevention advice call Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on freephone 0800 731 5958. Outside office hours please leave a message with your details and a contact number.
“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 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 year, between October 19 and midnight morning of November 6 there were 382 deliberate secondary fires attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Between October 19 and midnight morning of November 6 last year there were 466.
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.
In the Knowlsey district three and a-half tonnes of combustible materials were removed by the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Community Prevention Team during the weekend of November 3 and November 4.
An estimated 4,500 people attended an organised fireworks display in Simonswood Lane in Kirkby last night. The event was organised by Northwood Allotment Group and was supported by partners in Knowsley including Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service.
Sixth form students across Liverpool are also taking part in a new project which sees almost a hundred roads and streets in the city “adopted” by them as part of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s approach to making the bonfire period safe for communities.
The Adopt a Street initiative, launched by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, is the first of its kind to be introduced in Merseyside.
The young people involved in the initiative attend Alsop High School in Queen’s Drive, Liverpool, and Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) in Allerton.
Young people will help to spread safety messages amongst the street they have adopted, encouraging people to put wheelie bins away as soon as they have been emptied and other fire safety messages.
They will also keep an eye out for derelict buildings and fly-tipping in their area which can leave piles of rubbish that could be set on fire.
The Fire and Rescue Service provided leaflets with safety tips on how to reduce the risk of fire in communities by simple steps such as putting your wheelie bin in secure places and taken off pavements after collection.
:: The Knowsley district saw the largest decrease in calls to nuisance fires, classed as deliberate secondary fires, attended by firefighters during Bonfire Night itself. That area saw a decrease of 62.5% for Bonfire Night, from 16 in 2011 to six in 2012.
:: The Liverpool district saw a 17.5% drop in calls to nuisance fires, classed as deliberate secondary fires, attended by firefighters during the bonfire period, which ran from October 19. This year, between October 19 and midnight morning of November 6 there were 188 deliberate secondary fires attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service across the Liverpool district. Between October 19 and midnight morning of November 6 last year there were 228.
:: Knowsley also saw the largest percentage decrease in calls to nuisance fires, classed as deliberate secondary fires, attended by firefighters, during the bonfire period, which ran from October 19. The district saw a 37.7% drop from 53 in 2011 ro 33 in 2012.
:: The Wirral saw the second largest percentage decrease over the period, compared to 2011, with a 24.7% drop in nuisance fires attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. Between October 19 and midnight morning of November 6 58 were attended compared to 77 for the period in 2011.
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