PARENTS are being urged to be more vigilant about what their children may be up to when they are out and about over the Easter half term.
Last year, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) saw a sudden rise in the number of deliberately started fires in and around parks and opens spaces during the Easter half term holiday.
Community safety officers worked with school children and agencies such as the police and community safety teams to educate children and prevent fires from occurring, and were successful with the initiative by seeing a decline on the previous year’s statistics, but still DFRS were called to a high number of deliberate fires.
Statistics show that in April last year we had 167 deliberately started fires, this was less than August when we had 212, both months showing a peak in fires. These statistics show that there is a trend for deliberately started fires during school holidays.
A spokesman said: “This year we are urging parents and members of the community to be more vigilant about where their children are and what they may be up to. When your child returns home, can you smell smoke, or any form of accelerant on their clothing? Do you believe that they have been involved in deliberate fire setting? If so we need your assistance and would urge you to call your local police station.
“Our Community Safety Officers are visiting schools and clubs etc. to create awareness around the dangers of playing with fire as part of a ‘Prison? Me, no way!’ Initiative, but we need your help to deter children from becoming involved in such activity. If you have any concerns about your child playing with fire, DFRS offer a counselling service where trained advisors can visit your child to discuss the dangers of fire, educate them about fire safety and how to make safer choices.
“With the recent problems regarding people storing petrol in containers, it has become even more important to be aware of what your children are up to and that they are not playing with fire.”