Firefighters in Carlisle are teaming up with the police to help clamp down on anti-social behaviour over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

Operation Roman Candle launches this weekend [26 Oct] and will see a range of activities taking place to tackle deliberate fire setting and nuisance behaviour.

Craig Drinkald, station manager at Carlisle West Fire Station said: "Every year we see a rise in the number of deliberate fires that are started during a two-week period which includes half-term, Halloween and Bonfire Night.

"We want to make sure that our fire appliances are available for real emergencies and not wasting valuable time on nuisance calls, which is why we take clamping down on anti-social behaviour so seriously.

This time of year usually sees an increase in anti-social incidents with fires, fireworks and Halloween-related crimes all taking place.

As part of Operation Roman Candle work carried out will include:
• Arson audits identifying and removing potential fire risks in conjunction with Carlisle City Council and Riverside Housing. 
• Organised fire safety events targeting areas which in previous years have suffered with nuisance fires.
• Coordinated joint response between fire crews and police to incidents that involve illegal bonfires or fireworks.
• Carrying out education/school visits to every primary and secondary school in the Carlisle city area highlighting the dangers and consequences of anti-social fire starting and fireworks.
• Attendance at Carlisle Fireshow by Carlisle Locality Volunteers handing out fire safety advice and sending multi media fire safety messages via Bluetooth.

Operation Roman Candle has been running since 2007 and has helped bring about a dramatic decrease in the number of nuisance fires over the past five years.

In 2011 Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service was called to just under 30 nuisance fires in Carlisle over the two-week Halloween and Bonfire Night period compared to more than 85 in 2007.

Kevin Johnston, station manager at Carlisle East Fire Station added: "Our crews have been out in the community visiting schools and talking about the dangerous implications of starting fires and playing with fireworks and we'll be stepping up that message during Operation Roman Candle.

"Our aim is to keep everyone safe at over Halloween and Bonfire Night, but we need the public to help us by reporting illegally built bonfires to the city council, reporting anti-social behaviour to the police and removing the opportunity for a fire to be started by clearing bins, skips and other combustible materials."

Posted 23/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com