The BIG Litter Pick

Posted 18/05/2015 14:10:36

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is supporting Arson Awareness Week on the 18th - 22nd of May 2015, and has organised  a BIG Litter Pick across the region to highlight the dangers of deliberate refuse fires.

The Arson Reduction Team is pleased to be working alongside local Young Firefighters Associations(YFAs), North Wales Police and Keep Wales Tidy Officers as they prepare to clean the streets of North Wales to reduce the risk of refuse fires.

Kevin Jones, Arson Reduction Manager, said: "This is an all Wales project that will see staff from each service promote the dangers of deliberate fire setting.

"Throughout the week members of the YFA, a youth organisation run by Fire and Rescue Services in partnership with the Fire Services Youth Training Association will be at various locations across North Wales picking litter in collaboration with the Arson Reduction Team, North Wales Police and Keep Wales Tidy. The emphasis is on promoting and focusing public attention on deliberate fire setting and providing communities with tools to reduce the incidence of this crime."

Gruff Jones, North Wales Regional Manager for Keep Wales Tidy, said: "This is a great opportunity for different agencies to come together with one common aim, which is to make our communities a cleaner, safer place to live.

"Unfortunately, there are individuals who don't have pride or take care of their local environment, spoiling it for the rest of the community. What is great about events like this is that anyone and everyone can get involved and it's encouraging to see the younger generation in the YFA aiming to tackle and take hold of these issues alongside Keep Wales Tidy, the Arson Reduction Team and North Wales Police."

Kevin added: "Wales is renowned for its beautiful scenery, but time and time again firefighters are called to deliberate fires that have been set by youths.

"Deliberate refuse fires are acts of anti-social behaviour and are a criminal offence. Not only that they also affect the quality of life within communities. Deliberate fires set in wheelie bins have the potential to affect the quality of health for individuals engaged in such behaviour, as well as those people in close vicinity to the fires.

"The majority of wheelie bins are made from high density polyethylene which when burns, release potentially deadly toxic fumes. Inhaling these fumes can starve the brain of oxygen and there are also a number of carcinogenic substances that can be inhaled, that can cause cancer.

"The fires can also spread out of control extremely quickly and result in devastating effects for those affected - youths engaged in this activity are putting the lives of so many in danger and I hope that BIG Llitter Pick will encourage the youths to think twice before they act.

"Throughout the years, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has seen excellent progress in tackling deliberate refuse fires, with a decrease in the last three years from 277 between 1 April 2012 and March 2013, to 228 in the same period in 2013/2014 - and just recently down to 216 for 2014/15. This is due to our collaborative work which has allowed numerous agencies to innovatively support the reduction in deliberate fires.

"Arson is a wasteful destructive crime; this irresponsible behavior has serious implications and has a negative impact on those living, working or visiting North Wales.

"North Wales Fire and Rescue Service takes all arson extremely seriously and we wish to reassure residents that we will do all we can to trace those responsible and ensure they are prosecuted accordingly. YFA members from Amlwch, Beaumaris, Chirk, Conwy, Holyhead, Llanfairfechan, Prestatyn, and Pwllheli will be in their local areas collecting refuse during the week and would value your support."

More advice on how to protect yourself and local businesses from arson can be found on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service's bilingual website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk .

You can follow the campaign to reduce deliberate fires on social media by following #helpstopdeliberatefires and on our website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk  and www.north-wales.police.uk

Anyone with information on such crimes is advised to anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact 101.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service offers free home fire safety checks, where a member of the Service will visit your home, give fire safety hints and tips, help you to formulate a fire escape plan and fit new alarms - all free of charge. This service is available to all residents in North Wales.

To register for a free home fire safety check, please call the bilingual 24 hour free hotline on 0800 169 1234 or visit www.freesmokealarm.co.uk

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