Drop in number of deliberate fires

South Lanarkshire has seen a drop in the number of deliberate fires and accidental fires in the home.
South Lanarkshire has seen a drop in the number of deliberate fires and accidental fires in the home.

The number of fires being set deliberately in South Lanarkshire has fallen to the lowest level in five years.

Recently released statistics show that there were 696 deliberately set secondary fire incidents in the area during the last year – the lowest number recorded since the inception of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The number of accidental fires in the home also fell, from 244 last year to 229 in 2018/19 – the second lowest number recorded in the last five years.

This comes after firefighters delivered more than 3000 Home Fire Safety Visits – 1270 of which were paid to residents thought to be most vulnerable to harm.

Alan Fairbairn, Local Senior Officer (LSO) for the area, said that outstanding partnership working was at the heart of the continued downward trends.

He said: “We are delighted that we are seeing such positive results in the area – much of this is absolutely down to how closely we are working with-our partners and emergency service colleagues in the area.

The overall decline in deliberate secondary fires follows one of the driest years on record for the area, which is home to more than 300,000 people.

Deliberate secondary fires include fires in grassland, heath and rubbish and can have a potentially devastating effect on the environment and communities.

LSO Fairbairn continued: “Last summer was very dry and warm, and as a result July saw a somewhat unprecedented increase in activity.

“However, we quickly acted on the intelligence gathered, identified key areas which we needed to focus on alongside our partners and the community – and as a result we saw the number of secondary deliberate fires almost halved over the following months.

“The message here is clear – we take a zero-tolerance approach to deliberate fire setting which can divert our resources from real emergencies and have a devastating impact on our communities. We are committed to working with schools and the local authority to highlight the potential consequences of this activity and we will continue to work with our partners in Police Scotland to identify those responsible.”

SFRS crews have visited 830 vulnerable homes after they were referred by partners.

The statistics also show that distraction while cooking remains the number one cause of fires in the home, but LSO Fairbairn said raising awareness of risks is key.