YOUNG people in Huntington are being made aware of the dangers unwanted fires as part of a week-long course to show them that ‘flames aren’t games’.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue is tackling the problem of deliberate fires in Huntington, which has the highest proportion of arson in South Staffordshire - accounting for a third of all fires in the district.
Thanks to funding from South Staffordshire Housing Association, the fire service has run a week-long HEAT course for 11 to 14 year olds in the village to teach them about the dangers of arson and hoax calls, the work of the fire service and the equipment it uses, and the importance of team building.
Jan Goode, director of customer services at South Staffordshire Housing Association, said: “We are proud to be partnering with the fire service on this scheme to make our communities safer and to ensure young people develop a healthy respect for fire.
“We have a commitment to investing in the communities where we have homes and funding programmes like this one has a far-reaching impact on local people and the area they live in.”
Government statistics show that more young people disproportionately commit fire-related crimes, such as hoax calls, arson and attacks on firefighters. They are also more likely to be injured or killed by fire.
Katherine Haigh, risk reduction officer at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Young people enjoy the course as it involves them in activities they don’t normally do but it also delivers serious messages about fire safety and the impact of arson.
“Sadly deliberate fires in Huntington account for more than a third of all fires within South Staffordshire. It’s essential young people understand the dangers and consequences of starting fires. Deliberate fires can be life-threatening as they reduce our ability to respond to emergencies.”
Those who completed the course were presented with a certificate. The course took place at Littleton Youth Centre, Stafford Road.
The Fire Service is currently running a ‘Flames aren’t Games’ campaign to raise awareness amongst young people of the dangers of deliberately starting fires. As part of the campaign posters were distributed to schools prior to the summer break and initiatives such as HEAT have been taking place to educate young people of the dangers.
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