Welcome from the Chief
Stamping out deliberate fires
As we move into Spring with lighter evenings and warmer weather, I’m making an appeal to parents to be more aware of the whereabouts of their children and to help us prevent deliberate fires.
Deliberate fires endanger the lives of the public as well as firefighters; they delay fire crews from attending genuine emergencies, and cost the Welsh economy millions of pounds.
Working with partners
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has been working hard to drive down deliberate fires over recent years through a dedicated joint Arson Reduction Team with North Wales Police – working to a Wales Arson Reduction Strategy which provides a clear focus for organisations and individuals working together to reduce deliberate fires across the whole of Wales.
Since the launch of the very first Welsh Arson Reduction Strategy in 2007, there has been a considerable reduction of deliberate fires across Wales, with an estimated 68% decrease between 2006 and 2014. This has been achieved with determination and hard work from all the agencies involved.
However, deliberate fires in Wales still provide a clear and present danger to our environment, economy and our communities. Building on the knowledge and experience gained over the last decade, the time was right to further develop this work and to release the fourth generation of the Welsh Arson Reduction Strategy recently. The key focus area of this new strategy recognises the value in working with communities and individuals; we are encouraging them to share the responsibility to enable us to collectively eradicate arson where we live, work and visit.
You can read more about our Arson Reduction Team and the latest Wales Arson Reduction Strategy here.
It’s a criminal offence
Let us not forget that setting fires is a criminal offence, and we are actively working alongside North Wales Police to combat deliberate incidents.
You can follow our campaign to reduce deliberate fires on Twitter by following #helpstopdeliberatefires and on our website www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk .
Anyone with information on such crimes is advised to anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact 101.
Controlled burning deadlines
Did you know that according to Welsh Government legislation if you are a farmer or a landowner you cannot undertake a controlled burn after 31 March – and that doing so could result in prosecution and the loss of any subsidies you receive?
The three Welsh Fire and Rescue Services are working together to raise awareness of the dangers associated with burning outside of the authorised periods (between November 1 and March 15 on low lands and October 1 and March 31 on uplands); and to educate land owners to reduce the risk of wildfire and protect life, land and property.
Damage to habitats and wildlife
The damage fire can cause to the surrounding landscape and the detrimental effect on habitats and wildlife can be devastating. Fire can seriously injure or kill wild animals, cause severe dehydration or malnourishment, and can rob them of their natural habitat.
We encourage anyone conducting a controlled burn or even wishing to burn garden waste to call us beforehand on 01931 522006.
Drowning prevention and water safety awareness
The Service is supporting The National Fire Chiefs Council ‘Be Water Aware - Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Week’ (29th April - 5th May).
Drowning is one of the UK's leading causes of accidental death. Each year more than 300 people drown after tripping, falling or just by underestimating the risks associated with being near water. Many more people are left with life changing injuries in water related incidents.
As a Service, we have assisted in numerous rescues or evacuations of persons from water - and know all too well how reservoirs, lakes, rivers and other inland water can put your life or the lives of your loved ones at risk.
Be water aware
Drowning prevention and raising awareness is better than response and rescue or recovery - the fire and rescue service has successfully reduced the number of fire deaths by focussing on prevention work and now we must apply the same principle to tackling drowning.
People can make changes to their behaviour which may reduce their risk of drowning - and knowing how to respond quickly, safely and appropriately can help save lives.
Messages will be posted on Twitter using the hashtag #BeWaterAware and I’d ask everyone to help us by sharing these messages.