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Fire & Rescue Service urges extra precautions during unprecedented heatwave

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service have again urged the public to be particularly careful during the unprecedented spell of hot weather.

The number of calls to Fire Control has rocketed. Over a 72 hour period last weekend, over 1000 calls were handled by Fire Control with over a hundred separate grass fires. Locally there have been significant fires at Bidston Hill, Wirral, Harrison Park, Wirral, Sherdley Park, St. Helens and Formby & Ainsdale Pine Woods. On a national level, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Fire Control also operates National Resilience Fire Control (NRFC). This means that our Fire Control operators have not only been dealing with a huge increase in local incidents but are also supporting the mobilisation of national resources to the major incidents on Saddleworth Moor, Manchester and Winter Hill, Lancashire. Nationally, Merseyside Fire and Rescue through NRFC have coordinated the attendance of the following resources on behalf of the UK: •Wild Fire Tactical Advisors

•Burn Teams

•An additional 17 Fire Engines with personnel from across the UK (with the responding fire engines changing daily)

•High Volume Pump (HVP) deployments

•Military Support (including helicopter support) Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service has cancelled all non-essential activities while this period of high demand continues. All fire crews are in a high state of readiness to respond to incidents across Merseyside as they occur. Some of the fires in Merseyside are believed to have been started deliberately and parents are urged to discuss the very serious consequences of arson with their children. In addition to this, there are a number of ways people can reduce the risk of grassland and woodland fires: •Ensure cigarettes are extinguished correctly and cannot reignite - don’t throw cigarette ends on the ground – take your litter home.

•Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows.

•Avoid using open fires in the countryside.

•Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodland – sunlight shining through glass can start fires (take them home and recycle them).

•Only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended.

•If you see a fire, report it to the fire and rescue service immediately by calling 999 and give the nearest main road that the fire appliance can access.

•Don’t attempt to tackle fires– leave the area as quickly as possible. MFRS Arson reduction advocates have also been very active throughout the hot period to prevent further fires starting. The public are urged to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to MFRS and Merseyside Police. Group Manager for Prevention, Mark Thomas said: ‘The current conditions are creating the ideal environment for fires to start in woodland and grassland. We would urge the public to be especially careful in the hot weather and dispose of rubbish and barbecues safely. We would also remind, particularly parents, that deliberately setting a fire is arson. Deliberate fires are investigated. Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service’s Arson Team will be working with Merseyside Police, Local Authorities and other partner agencies to identify offenders. Please speak to your children about the very real consequences of arson for them and others.’ For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over or those referred by partner agencies.

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