Arson and deliberate fires are a problem for the Fire Service, the Police and the Ambulance Service. They endanger lives and divert valuable resources.
Arson often starts with a fascination for fire and progresses to lighting small fires but this can quickly escalate onto skips, cars, derelict properties and most disturbingly people's homes.
Working in close partnership with the Police, Crimestoppers, local authorities, neighbourhood watch schemes and other agencies we educate and aim to deter potential arsonists.
You can play a part in combating arsonists by following the practical advice below:
Rubbish is a ready source of fuel for an arsonist, so fires involving rubbish can quickly spread to nearby homes and buildings putting lives at risk.
- Only put rubbish and recycling containers out on collection days
- If you miss a collection contact your local council to report it
- Never store rubbish or anything that can catch alight, in corridors, stairwells or escape routes
- Keep communal bin stores secure and well lit
- Store recycling containers a safe distance from buildings
- Don’t overload skips and get them removed when full
One of the best ways to prevent arson is making sure your property is secure, including any derelict buildings.
- Keep entry points to buildings secure, including sheds or garages, perimeter walls, fencing and gates
- Board up and secure unused or derelict buildings
- Prevent intruders and trespassing by making sure perimeters and buildings are well maintained and any damage is repaired as soon as possible
- Consider installing security systems such as CCTV, alarms and security lighting
- Keep any flammable substances stored safely and securely, not left in the open
- Consider fitting a fire reduction letterbox
On the streets
Dumped rubbish and abandoned vehicles are common targets for arsonists, you can help by reporting them to your local council.
- Report fly-tipping to your local council to get it collected quickly
- Report abandoned vehicles to your local council, as they can become a target for arson. They may cause damage to the environment from oil spills and the toxic smoke produced in a fire. Water used during fire fighting may also become polluted and affect sub-soils and water drainage systems
- Report suspicious behaviour to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact Sussex Police on 101 with information. (Always call 999 in an emergency.)
Children who play with fire are an increasing problem. Very often, the child's fire play begins from curiosity.
However, in some cases, the problem may be more deep-rooted.
The child may turn to fire to vent their feelings of frustration, anger or jealousy.
It may also be a very graphic cry for help with a specific but unspoken problem.
Unfortunately, many parents do not recognise the symptoms, even fewer the cause.
Arson risk assessments
Simple risk assessments to reduce the risk of arson.
If you have any information about arson (deliberate fires) or any other crime please call Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit Sussex CrimeStoppers