This year’s bonfire period saw a record low for call-outs to nuisance fires across Merseyside – with students from Liverpool schools helping to make their communities safer.
There was a drop of 28% in the number of call-outs for fires from anti-social behaviour, attended by firefighters between October 19 to just after midnight on the morning of November 7, compared to the same period in 2011, following a campaign run by the fire service and its partners including councils, Merseyside Police, the Probation Service and social landlords.
It follows a bonfire clear-up campaign removing tonnes of combustible materials. Over the last two weeks, an estimated 20 tonnes of combustible materials were removed of which around seven were cleared with help from a group of sixth form students at Alsop High School.
The students – Sean Gilbert ,James Haworth, Shelby Whelan, Rebecca Waring and Laura Jayne-Hope – received manual handling training and helped on three separate days clearing combustible items.
James Berry, a Group Manager in Prevention and Protection at Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service who is leading the bonfire safety strategy this year, said: “Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service is delighted with the figures following the joint campaign with our partners to reduce deliberate secondary fires during the run-up to Bonfire Night and over the bonfire period. Our teams have been working hard as part of our bonfire campaign to clear streets of items and rubbish that could have been used for fires. ”
Councillor Steve Munby, Liverpool city Council Cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have been working with the Fire and Rescue Service and other partners to ensure that bonfire night , and the run-up to it, were as safe as possible and this approach appears to have paid off with us having fewer incidents than last year. It is also very pleasing that students from our schools are getting involved in spreading the safety message.”
Sixth form students across Liverpool are also taking part in a new project which sees almost a hundred roads and streets in the city “adopted” by them as part of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s approach to increasing safety for communities.
The Adopt a Street initiative is the first of its kind to be introduced in Merseyside.
The young people involved in the initiative attend Alsop High School in Queen’s Drive, Liverpool, and Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) in Allerton.
Young people will help to spread safety messages among the street they have adopted, encouraging people to put wheelie bins away as soon as they have been emptied and other fire safety messages.
They will also keep an eye out for derelict buildings and fly-tipping in their area which can leave piles of rubbish that could be set on fire.
The Fire and Rescue Service provided leaflets with safety tips on how to reduce the risk of fire in communities by simple steps such as putting your wheelie bin in secure places and taken off pavements after collection.
• A community bonfire in Norris Green has been hailed as a major success. Hundreds of people attended the event at Scargreen Recreation Ground. This was the first event of its type and follows incidents of anti-social behaviour in the area on bonfire night in previous years. This year, November 5, passed without incident.
Pictured above: Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Supervisory Advocate Sarah Wyatt, centre, with some of the students from Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) in Allerton who are taking part in Adopt a Street. (Picture: Tony Thomas/ Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service).
Picture right: Alsop students clear rubbish from the streets( Picture: Merseyside Fire & Rescue service)