Attacks on fire crews are on the increase
A campaign has been launched to reduce the number of attacks against fire crews.
Figures released by the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service show that although April and May is still one of the busiest times of the year for the number of deliberately started fires, the number of incidents dropped last year.
However, the number of verbal and physical attacks on fire crews attending incidents has increased.
Between January and December 2015, there were 25 reported attacks on firefighters, which doubled to 50 during the same period in 2016.
Group manager Tony Markwell, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is totally unacceptable that firefighters are being subjected to physical and verbal abuse while working to protect our local communities.
“We take these attacks on our firefighters very seriously and work closely with Northumbria Police and the local authorities to resolve these issues, including reviewing CCTV footage from the cameras which are fitted on all our fire appliances.”
Over the next few months, fire officers will be carrying out talks at schools in North Tyneside as part of joint education talks.
They will also take part in Operation Hotspots in North Shields, Longbenton and Wallsend.
Leaflets and posters are being distributed across the area to warn people of the dangers of setting fires deliberately and where they can report fly-tipping and build-up of other materials which could be set alight.
Fire crews across Tyne and Wear will be visiting their local hot spot areas as part of their usual routine and reporting any potential targets for fires to their local authorities so they can be removed.
Tony added: “I would urge parents to make sure they know what their children are doing if they go out during the lighter nights and to support this campaign by making them aware of the dangers of setting fires deliberately or attacking firefighters.
“What may seem like a bit of harmless fun can easily lead to something much worse – causing serious damage to property and people’s lives.
“How would they feel if it was their property being damaged or even worse their own life or a family member or friend’s life was under threat?
“Fire is unpredictable and dangerous, not only can it kill and injure, but deliberately setting a fire can leave you with a criminal record and scar you for life.”
For more information on how to stay safe from fire please visit www.twfire.gov.uk