Merseyside firefighters called to fewer deliberate fires throughout the bonfire period than last year, including a decrease on Bonfire Night itself

Firefighters attended 25% less deliberately set fires across Merseyside on Bonfire Night, Saturday 5th November, than on the same date last year, and deliberate fires throughout the entirety of the bonfire period (19th October – 5th November) were down 18.9%.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) attended 24 deliberately set ASB (anti-social behaviour fires – this includes bonfires, wheelie bin and rubbish fires – between 00:00 hours and 23.59 hours on Bonfire Night, as opposed to 32 on November 5th 2022.

On the 5th November, the majority of areas covered by MFRS - Liverpool, Sefton, and St Helens saw a reduction in deliberately set fires, while Knowsley, and Wirral saw an increase.

Sefton saw a decrease of 2 incidents - from 5 to 3 fires. Liverpool saw a reduction of 10 – from 16 to 6 fires. St Helens also saw a decrease of 3 fires – from 4 to 1, and finally Wirral saw an increase of 3 fires – from 5 to 8.

Liverpool saw the biggest reduction in deliberately set fires this year, with fire crews attending 6 deliberate fires, down from 16 in 2022.

MFRS also attended almost half as many potentially dangerous bonfires. Firefighters attended 6 potentially dangerous bonfires on November 5th 2023, compared to 13 in 2022.

Wirral and Knowsley saw the highest number of such bonfires – with fire crews attending 2 within each area. Firefighters attended 1 bonfire in Liverpool and Sefton respectively, and none in St Helens.

Crews attended less incidents related to fireworks – down to 3 from 8 last year – on 5th November 2023. Throughout the entirety of the bonfire period (19th October – 5th November), crews attended 12 fewer firework incidents, with 10 incidents attended against 22 for the same period the previous year. 

Throughout the whole bonfire period, firefighters have attended 142 deliberately set fires, down 18.9% from last year when they attended 175.

In total, Fire Control received 188 emergency 999 calls on November 5th in 2023, a decrease of 16.8% from 2022’s figure of 226. Throughout the entire period, Fire Control received 1,099 emergency 999 calls – down 10.2% from 2022’s figure of 1,224.

Group Manager for Community Safety, Franny Hill, said: “We are pleased to see that the majority of people across Merseyside enjoyed a safe Bonfire Night. Whilst we saw a decrease in the number of deliberate fires on 5th November itself, the reduction in the number of ASB fires throughout the bonfire period is great to see and is undoubtedly down to the work the Service and partner organisations have done during this period. I would like to thank all staff at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service that have been involved during the period, with our Control staff doing a fantastic job of handling calls throughout.

“What is concerning is the number of firework incidents we have seen this year – 10 across Merseyside. A number of these have involved fireworks posted through letterboxes and windows – this behaviour is totally unacceptable. It may seem like a laugh or a bit of fun but this kind of behaviour has very serious consequences. Whilst we are lucky that no one has been seriously injured as a result of these incidents, they could have very easily resulted in a fatality.

“As well as seeing a reduction in the number of deliberate fires throughout the period, we also saw a reduction in the number of attacks on our staff. We work extensively with schools to reduce this kind of behaviour and would like to thank them and parents for discussing consequences with young people. Unfortunately, there was still a small minority of the community that chose to attack the very people who are trying to keep them safe. Sadly, this is not specific to Merseyside and has been experienced by fire and rescue services across the country. Firefighters and support staff are not targets – they are members of your community who go above and beyond every day to keep you safe. They do not deserved to be attacked for simply doing their job.”

GM Hill added: “On November 5, we take a tolerant view of bonfires - if they are in the open, supervised by adults and under control we do not extinguish them. Those we attended and put out on Saturday - those included in our statistics - were all considered to be dangerous. We would ask members of the community to be mindful of the proximity of bonfires to houses and the dangers they pose.

“The bonfire period is always extremely busy for us as a Service, though extensive advance planning and partnership work with Merseyside Police, local authorities, registered housing providers and other community partners mean we are able to keep the number of incidents down.

“In recent weeks, firefighters and the prevention team have been out with our partners in communities clearing away more than 100 tonnes of hazardous rubbish and fly-tipping, which could have been used as fuel for fires, and promoting the safe storage of wheelie bins to help prevent them becoming targets for arson.

“We are thankful to our communities for taking on board our safety messages and advice, and for their support throughout this period.”

As we move into winter, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service urges everyone to make sure they have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home and to ensure it is tested regularly.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958. You can also complete a free online home fire safety check at https://www.safelincs.co.uk/hfsc/?ref=MRSFRS

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.

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Note to editors:

 

Total 999 calls received by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on Saturday 5th November (00:00 Sat 5th – 23:59 Sat 5th):

Total 999 Calls Received

     
 

2022

2023

Difference

Percentage Difference

Total

226

188

-38

-16.8%

Total 999 calls received by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service between 19th October – 5th November

 

   

Total 999 Calls Received

     
 

2022

2023

Difference

Percentage Difference

Total

584

536

-48

-8.2%

             

A full and inclusive breakdown of all deliberately set fire incidents attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on Saturday 5th November is detailed below:

All Deliberate Fires

     

District

2022

2023

Difference

Percentage Difference

Knowsley

2

6

4

200.0%

Liverpool

16

6

-10

-62.5%

Sefton

5

3

-2

-40.0%

St Helens

4

1

-3

-75.0%

Wirral

5

8

3

60.0%

Grand Total

32

24

-8

-25.0%

Breakdown of all deliberately set fires attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service over the entire bonfire period (19th October – 5th November)

All Deliberate Fires

     

District

2022

2023

Difference

Percentage Difference

Knowsley

16

26

10

62.5%

Liverpool

88

47

-41

-46.6%

Sefton

21

21

0

0.0%

St Helens

19

25

6

31.6%

Wirral

31

23

-8

-25.8%

Grand Total

175

142

-33

-18.9%

The numbers of incidents attended by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service on Saturday, November 5 specifically relating only to bonfires is given below. These figures are included as part of the full breakdown of incidents, detailed above:

Bonfires Only

       

District

2022

2023

Difference

Percentage Difference

Knowsley

0

2

2

200.0%

Liverpool

5

1

-4

-80.0%

Sefton

2

1

-1

-50.0%

St Helens

2

0

-2

-100.0%

Wirral

4

2

-2

-50.0%

Grand Total

13

6

-7

-53.8%