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KFRS firefighters and Canterbury City Council join forces against potential arsonists

KFRS is trying to reduce fuel for potential arsonists (such as rubbish from the streets

KFRS and the Canterbury City Council will work together to keep the streets clean 

KFRS Firefighters and Canterbury City Council call on shop owners to help stamp out arsonists putting innocent lives at risk.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is appealing to business owners to work alongside it and the council in a bid. 

It is hoped that by keeping the city clean and tidy, firefighters will be called out to fewer arson-related rubbish fires. These incidents take up firefighters' valuable time and prevent them from doing their real job - attending fires and incidents where lives are in genuine danger.

Technical Fire Safety Officer Shawn Hoare said: "We noticed a dramatic increase in the amount of waste thrown out by shops in the city over the past month. So, along with the council, we decided to approach proprietors to highlight the problems of leaving such large quantities of rubbish out on the streets. As well as posing health and safety issues, masses of rubbish bags tend to attract arsonists and it's these sort of fires that tend to get out of control.

"These incidents are almost always started deliberately by people who have nothing better to do than look for things to set fire to and therefore if there is rubbish lying around, or a wheelie bin sitting in the middle of a pavement, they will just act. 

It is hoped that by keeping the city clean and tidy, firefighters will be called out to fewer arson-related rubbish fires.

"Arson is an issue for everybody who lives in Canterbury, so our task force has been working alongside the council to educate shop owners about storing rubbish and how they can help us in discouraging deliberate fires." 

Canterbury City Council's Executive member for environment, Cllr Rosemary Doyle, said: "Keeping our city centre clean, tidy and safe for residents and visitors is a high priority and we are pleased to be working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service on this issue.

"We have written to all businesses in the city centre asking them to arrange for rubbish and recycling collections to take place at the end of each day. Currently, many put their rubbish out at night for collection the following morning, but with plenty of people using Canterbury for socialising in the evening, the bags often get torn open and the rubbish is redistributed widely across the streets. This then causes a problem with vermin.

"We hope businesses will support us and the fire service as we work to keep Canterbury a great place in which to live, work and play." 

Rubbish bags tend to attract arsonists

Shawn is also encouraging witnesses who may have seen offenders start fires to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or approach firefighters at the scene of an incident and provide any details which can be passed on to the police to ensure the culprits are convicted. 

Shawn added: "Ultimately our job is to save lives and limit damage to property but we can't do this when we are called out to rubbish fires.

"It also means we don't have as much time to get out into the community and educate people about fire safety and the risks arsonists take when they set fire to something."

The following safety tips can help the general public to prevent fires starting in the first place:

  • Don't accumulate rubbish which can act as potential fuel for deliberate fire setters.
  • Contact your local district or borough council to arrange collection of unwanted furniture, or to report abandoned vehicles or fly tipped waste (Clean Kent 24 hour reporting line - 0845 345 020 or Canterbury City Council on 0800 031 9091).
  • Report any information about illegal fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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