IT is estimated that arson attacks in Rugby and others parts of the county have cost Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service an estimated £21,830,084 in economic costs over the past four years.
More than 1,249 fires were deliberately started in the last year, totalling to 1652 fire appliances being called to deal with the fires.
Deliberate attacks on commercial premises cost an average of £4365 with deliberate fires in domestic premises estimated at £12,800.
Around half of the fires attended were rubbish or bin fires, with the biggest being derelict buildings and skips.
Arson reduction manager, Ian Tonner, said: “Deliberate fire setting is not only dangerous for the individual involved, but it can devastate communities, schools and businesses. In the worst cases, lives can be lost.
“Ultimately, our priority is to keep the public and our firefighters safe and reducing arson and anti-social behaviour plays a big part in how we achieve that. We also need to support businesses to stay in business during this economic downturn, by educating them on how to reduce the risks of arson attacks on their premises.”
Whilst arson is a real issue and one we continue to drive down, we have had some real success. In just two years we have managed to almost halve the economic cost of fire in Warwickshire. This has been driven by both preventative measures and an excellent operational response. However, we can not be complacent, which is why we have recently launched our Small Fires Unit, which is already working in communities affected by arson. In addition we remain committed to our partnerships as we work together to protect the community and make Warwickshire a safer place to live.
To reduce the chances of being a victim of arson either at home or for commercial premises, there are some simple steps you can take:
· Ensure your wheelie bin or your black bags are kept in a secure place away from buildings, so they cannot be set alight.
· Put rubbish out on the day of collection and then bring your bin in as soon as possible.
· Never leave commercial bins open, keep them locked and secured before you leave the building for the evening and over the weekends.
· Using a skip for building work or rubbish removal? Try to fill it and remove it on the same day.
For more information on fire safety log onto www.warwickshire.gov.uk/warksfirerescue