MFRS warns of setting deliberate fires and repercussions of attacks on crews

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is calling on people to “think twice” before putting their community at risk over the Bonfire period.

Each year over the Bonfire period, MFRS is called out to a large amount of wheelie bin fires, bonfires, and other deliberately-set fires.

In 2021’s bonfire period between 19 October and 7 November, MFRS was called out to 218 fires of this type known as ‘secondary’ fires. This uses up valuable and limited resources and takes crews away from responding to more serious and possibly life-threatening incidents.

Station Manager Joe Cunliffe said, “Deliberately started fires on the run-up to Bonfire night are a huge drain on already overstretched fire service resources. What may seem like a bit of harmless fun to some can have life-changing consequences and puts entire communities at risk.

“If firefighters are responding to a wheelie bin fire or illegal bonfire, it prevents them from responding to another incident. Please have a conversation with your children about right and wrong.

“You can help to reduce the number of incidents this Bonfire period by never giving combustible materials to anyone, especially young people, and making sure your wheelie bin is out of sight – only put it out on collection day and bring it back in as soon as possible if you can.

“We would urge people on the run-up to Bonfire night to report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via our website www.merseyfire.gov.uk, by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our social media pages.”

As well as dealing with secondary fires, MFRS crews also see an increase in the number of attacks as they respond to incidents, particularly over the Halloween and Bonfire period.

SM Cunliffe added, “Previous years have seen objects, including bricks and fireworks, thrown at fire engines as crews respond to bonfire-related incidents. Such action can result in that fire engine being taken out of service for the rest of the night, meaning it cannot respond to emergencies.

“This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. It’s not fun to attack firefighters. An attack on fire crews is an attack on your own community. Don’t ruin your own or someone else’s future. All fire engines carry CCTV cameras and footage will be passed on to Merseyside Police. Please think twice and remember, actions have consequences.”

MFRS is urging parents to have discussions with their children before they go out over the Halloween and Bonfire period about what is acceptable behaviour.

If you have any information about people involved in this type of anti-social behaviour which, every year, causes serious injury or damage, then please report it. Always contact 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can DM @MerPolCC , call 101 or @CrimestoppersUK .

For fire safety advice, or if you do not have working smoke alarms in your property, call 0800 731 5958. For more tips on staying safe this Halloween & Bonfire, check out Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s Facebook (@MerseyFire ), Twitter (@MerseyFire ), Instagram (@Mersey_Fire ) and YouTube (@MerseyFire ) or visit www.merseyfire.gov.uk

Image: MFRS

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