STAFFORDSHIRE Fire and Rescue Service is urging the community to share the Flames Aren’t Games campaign in a bid to deter young people from setting fires.
The plea comes after July’s figures show another increase in deliberate incidents compared to last year.
In July 2016 the Service was called to 101 fires in the open or in disused buildings, caused by arson, and this year the figure has risen by nearly 70 per cent with crews attending 170 deliberate fires in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
One of the most recent examples of this type of incident is the fire at the old Coral building in Old Hall Street, Hanley, which took more than 25 firefighters over 12 hours to deal with.
The refreshed Flames Aren’t Games campaign, featuring an innovative spoken word music video, aims to highlight the dangers of setting fires and the consequences for those responsible.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber said: “It is very concerning to see this type of incident still on the increase but with the launch of our campaign last week; we are really hopeful that we will see this change throughout August.
“We urge the public to share our video and campaign messages on social media and ask parents to ensure their children know that setting fires puts lives at risk, takes valuable firefighting resources away from other possible emergencies and could lead to a jail term and hefty fine.
“We’re working with partners around the county to run diversionary activities for young people but we also need your help with this. Please spread the word that Flames Aren’t Games and help us make August the first month this year to see a drop in deliberate fires.”
Director of Prevent and Protect Glynn Luznyj said: “Deliberate fires have become a really worrying issue in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. We are hoping that through this video we can reach the masses and show young people how dangerous it is to set a fire.
“We are urging people to share the video in order for it to reach as many people as possible. Please show it your children, friends and students. We hope that by using an eye-catching video the message will be clear and strong, and hopefully it will make those who consider flames as games think twice.
“We’ve already seen a large increase in deliberate outdoor fires this year and the risk is even higher now we have entered the summer holidays as we usually see a spike in the number of calls to these fires.
“The video is just the start of our summer long campaign which also involves us supporting diversionary activities around the county in the hope of deterring young people from setting fires by keeping them busy and engaged.”