It 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.
Insurers report that arson costs over £1bn in fire-related claims across the UK 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 the year ending September 2018 55 people died in the UK in fires that were started deliberately.
Andy Martin, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Arson Reduction Officer explains why arson affects all of us and how you can help combat it: “Every fire caused deliberately is a significant drain on our resources and can put lives in danger, destroy buildings and be devastating to local communities.
“You can reduce the chances of your home, business or other property becoming a target for an arsonist by following some simple guidelines;
- Only put rubbish out on the designated collection day and keep bins away from the walls of your property, ideally in a secure environment.
- Fly tipping is great fuel for arsonists – so always dispose of your rubbish responsibly and make arrangements for combustible materials to be taken to a tip by a trustworthy source and DON’T leave any in front of your property.
- Don’t let rubbish build up outside your property or allow bins to become too full and don’t put skips close to your property, arrange for them to be emptied or removed before they become too full. You should contact your local council about disposal of bulky items.
Andy continues: “If you see anyone setting a fire deliberately, 'don't accept it, report it’. Use 999 for the Fire Service if lives or property are at risk. Anti-social behaviour is often a precursor to arson. Report it and any information on arson to the Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111”.
For more advice on arson prevention and reduction please see the arson reduction pages on the Community Safety section of our website www.bedsfire.gov.uk