The long summer holidays are a highlight for children of all ages but it can also be a time when they are left to occupy themselves with less structure and adult supervision. It can provide more opportunities to fall in with a bad crowd or get into other forms of trouble.
Between 1 April and 19 July 2016, Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) attended 619 outdoor fires across the county. 62 per cent of those are believed to have been started deliberately and over a third by youths aged between 10 and 17.
Margate Crew Manager, Nikki Escudier said: “We’ll be working over the coming weeks to help stamp out deliberate fires but we’re also asking parents for their help. Please talk to your children about where they are and what they are doing during the summer holidays. If your kids are looking for adventure, risk and excitement, make sure they know that starting fires is not the answer.
“There is real potential for serious injury or even loss of life and it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Not to mention the devastation deliberate fires can have on wildlife, the countryside and the blight on the community and we’re all paying the cost of that as tax payers.”
Parents are asked to look out for the following signs:
- Do your children’s clothes smell of smoke?
- Are they using or carrying matches and lighters for no particular reason?
Nikki added: “If you’re concerned in any way about a young person in your care, please contact KFRS’s free, confidential Firesetters team for advice on how to deal with the problem or email.
“Fire moves very fast, quicker than we can run and it only takes a change in wind speed or direction to find you’re trapped by smoke and flames. So if you’re kids are starting fires as a result of peer pressure or because they think its harmless fun, tell them to stop and think again, they are putting themselves and others in danger.
“It could also delay us from getting to a car crash or house fire with your family or friends trapped inside, you are putting lives in danger, including your own.”
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