Deliberate fire raising - puts lives at risk and is money up in smoke

At Monday evening's Policy & Resources (Police, Fire & Community Safety) Committee there were a couple of reports about deliberate fire raising.  In the quarterly performance report by the Fire & Rescue Service we read that 124 deliberate secondary fires in the first three months of the year.  Secondary fires is a term which covers the majority of outdoor fires including grassland and refuse fires.  Of those 124 fires 69 were refuse fires, including 33 wheelie bin fires, 8 small refuse containers, 5 large refuse containers, 3 were in refuse tips and 20 were loose refuse.

The subsequent report of funding for community safety included  £5,000 for the removal of rubbish deemed a risk to life or property.  In terms of the wheelie bins and other refuse material the cost to the council is at the very least £5000.  It also costs around £2000 on average for a fire appliance to leave the fire station under blue light conditions.

I am clear that first and foremost those who set fires are responsible and the full force of the law should be used against them.  These fires put the lives of firefighters at risk, they put the lives of the public at risk and they cost taxpayer an unnecessary amount of money.  I think that the council should be looking at ways to make sure that it is doing what it can to spend money to help prevent fires.  There is a need to look at ways to spend money to save money for the council tax payer in Dundee.

The council’s £5,000 for environmental clean-ups is a drop in the ocean, and one of the positives to come out of Monday’s debate was that the chief executive acknowledged that we need to spend more on fire prevention. This really is spending money to save money.