PARENTS are being urged to inform their children that they could face two years in prison or a fine of up to £5,000 if they deliberately set fires.
The Service is warning people that a small deliberate fire can turn into a big problem with far reaching consequences.
It has launched its annual Flames Aren’t Games campaign ahead of the Easter holiday in a bid to tackle small grass and bin fires.
The hard-hitting initiative has proved to be a success since it was launched in 2011 with the number of incidents decreasing year on year.
A number of diversionary events are taking place in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to entertain young people during the Easter break and more activities, including school talks, will be held during the summer.
Visit http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/events.asp for more information on the events.
Head of Risk Reduction Jim Bywater said: “The consequences of setting deliberate fires can be devastating. They can put the lives of innocent members of the public and firefighters at risk as well as endangering those responsible for starting the blaze.
“They also put a strain on the fire and rescue service, with the possibility of crews taking longer to respond to a serious house fire or road traffic collision because they are tackling a deliberate grass fire.
“The monetary cost of these incidents is also quite shocking with an estimated £8 million spent nationally every year on dealing with them. This money could be far better spent.
“The long-term effects on the people engaging in the anti-social behaviour can be catastrophic too with a maximum of five years in prison or a fine of up to £5,000. A criminal record can also badly affect future job prospects, leading to a long term negative impact later in life.
“We would urge parents to make their children aware of all of these issues so that they don’t get involved in setting fires in the first place.”
There were the following number of small fires between April 1 and August 31 2014:
• 205 in the west of the county
• 505 in the north of the county
• 156 in the east of the county
There were the following number of small fires between April 1 and August 31 2013:
• 276 in the west of the county
• 773 in the north of the county
• 232 in the east of the county
There were the following number of small fires between April 1 and August 31 2011:
• 574 in the west of the county
• 959 in the north of the county
• 373 in the east of the county
The figures for 2012 are not comparable due to the extremely wet weather during the summer months.