“Arson accounts for almost half of all fires attended by the fire and rescue services and can have devastating effects in terms of its cost and consequences,” said Lee Howell, the Forum’s Independent Chairperson.
Insurers report that arson costs over £1bn in fire-related claims each year. Damage to property, business interruption and other inconvenience caused by arson is significant. Deliberate fires cost a vast amount of money, but also endanger life, with a significant number of lives lost as a result. In 2014/15, 50 people died in fires that were started deliberately.
Lee added: “The Forum brings together those with a responsibility or interest in reducing arson and challenges them to do more. We have seen progress, but there is still work to be done. This is where members of the public can help.
“Arson is a significant drain on our resources and can put lives in danger, destroy buildings and be devastating. Arson must be reported. If you see anyone setting a fire deliberately, 'don't accept it, report it’.”
Station Manager Andy Justice, Fire Investigation Manager for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, said: “With the help of members of the public and the police, arsonists are being actively sought and sentenced by the courts.”
If you see fire-setting or suspicious activity, you should report it to the police. Videos or photos from members of the public of any fires where suspicious activity is suspected, such as that at a recent fire and burglary at a charity shop in Yeovil, Somerset, are particularly useful to police and fire arson investigators.
Arson destroys lives and costs over £1bn each and every year. Even a small fire can lead to disaster. Not tolerating these smaller fires can help prevent larger, more damaging fires being set in the future. Don’t accept it. Report it.
Notes to editors:
For further fire safety advice go to www.dsfire.gov.uk
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