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Deliberate Fires: Plea to parents to warn children of fire dangers

March 23 2018

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging parents to speak to their children about fire safety ahead of the Easter school holidays.

“It’s really worrying that these two incidents have happened and they have highlighted just how important it is to educate young people about the dangers of playing with matches, lighters and fire. It demonstrates that matches and lighters should be kept in a safe place and out of reach of young children."

Prevent Manager Carmel Warren

The plea follows two incidents at homes in Staffordshire where fires were started by children. Further details of the incidents cannot be released, at the request of those involved, but these incidents highlight the need for parents to be vigilant and make sure they keep lighters and matches out of young children’s reach.

The timely reminder also comes ahead of the Easter school holidays, when the Service typically sees reports of deliberate fires spike and marks the beginning of the Service’s yearly Flames Aren’t Games campaign.

In April 2017 the Service recorded and responded to 213 reports of deliberate fires in the open (compared to just 110 in March 2017).

In a bid to raise young people’s awareness about the dangers of fires staff from the Service’s Prevent Teams have been carrying out educational visits at schools, as part of their continued education and engagement work.

Prevent Manager Carmel Warren said: “It’s really worrying that these two incidents have happened and they have highlighted just how important it is to educate young people about the dangers of playing with matches, lighters and fire. It demonstrates that matches and lighters should be kept in a safe place and out of reach of young children.

“The residents were very lucky as both incidents could have easily resulted in serious injury or even death and they show you cannot under estimate the importance of educating young people about the consequences of such behaviour.

“Typically the Easter holidays are when we start to see a spike in deliberate fires in woodlands, parks and public spaces. With young people off school they can often be out and about trying to entertain themselves, particularly if the weather is good, and we want to remind parents to make sure they know where their children are and what they’re up to.

“We’re refreshing our annual campaign, which features two videos which we’ve designed to appeal to young people to show them that Flames Aren’t Games. We are reusing our spoken word video and plan to use a new 360 degree video which allows viewers to move around the scene, both will be posted on social media over the holidays.”

 More information about the Service’s Flames Aren’t Games campaign and outdoor safety can be found here.