- Thursday, 17 July 2014 14:57
At the halfway point of a week-long series of firefighter strikes Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has condemned the actions of deliberate fire starters.
Since Monday 14 July a total of 19 deliberately started fires have been attended by fire crews, three of these during periods of national industrial action by firefighters.
In this period of warm, dry weather the AF&RS has also dealt with 13 grass and vegetation fires - seven of which are thought to have been started deliberately.
At 14.54hrs on Wednesday 16 July three crews worked for more than 90 minutes to extinguish a deliberately started grass fire near Redfield Road, Patchway. Crews worked with hose reels and beaters to tackle a fire which burnt away an area of grass measuring approximately 100 metres x 50 metres.
Fire Brigades Union members are taking part in 15 periods of industrial action between Monday 14 and Monday 21 July. Ahead of a weekend of strikes officers are appealing to would-be arsonists not to put lives at risk. Anyone with information about arsonists is asked to report it to the police immediately.
Area Manager Marc Anderson said: “During the strikes the emergency service we are able to provide is seriously restricted. Although we have resilience cover in place it is by no means a direct replacement for the high standard of emergency response local people can normally rely upon.
“Deliberately started fires are reckless at any time, but it is not an understatement to say that people setting fires during the strikes, when we have a significantly reduced emergency response service, are risking lives.
“Not only do the fires put the public and members of the emergency services at risk, they also tie-up our crews meaning we cannot go to other emergencies where people need our help.
“I’d ask these individuals to consider how they would feel if we couldn’t help a member of their family in a house fire or trapped in a road traffic collision because we were elsewhere dealing with a fire they had started.
“Arson carries a strong sentence and anyone convicted of this type of offense could face a sentence of up to life in prison.”
Anyone with information about arson should contact Crimestopppers on 0800 555 111 or the police on the non-emergency line, 101.
During the strikes Avon Fire & Rescue Service is urging members of the public to take steps to reduce of having a fire. A list of ten tips can be found at www.avonfire.gov.uk
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will be taking industrial action on the following dates and times:
Thursday 17 July:17.00hrs to 19.00hrs
Friday 18 July: 06.00hrs to 08.00hrs and 23.00hrs to 01.00hrs on Saturday 19 July
Saturday 19 July:11.00hrs to 13.00hrs and 23.00hrs to 01.00hrs on Sunday 20 July
Sunday 20 July: 17.00hrs to 19.00hrs
Monday 21 July: 06.00hrs to 08.00hrs and 17.00hrs to 19.00hrs
More industrial action information