A North East fire chief has called on support from their communities after revealing attacks on firefighters are on the rise.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today revealed that there have been 50 attacks on their staff so far in 2021. This bucked a trend in the region that had seen a steady decrease in attacks on firefighters over the last three years.
With the beginning of half term, and Bonfire Night just around the corner, fire chiefs at the Service are concerned their staff will continue to be put at risk. In a bid to raise awareness of the issue, TWFRS have re-released body worn footage of attacks on staff on previous Bonfire Night weekends.
And now Tyne and Wear's most senior firefighter has called on parents to have candid conversations with their children to prevent a further spate of attacks.
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: "No one wants to be targeted because of their job, no one wants to go to work and be worried about getting attacked. The situations our crews put themselves in in order to keep our communities safe is incredible and it's absolutely ridiculous that they get targeted while trying to save lives.
"The worst thing is it's such a small minority of people acting like this but their actions can be detrimental on us as a fire service.
"Appliances out of use because of damage or firefighters not being able to work due to injury, it puts us all at risk. We want to work with the public and our partners to make sure that things like this don't happen, while holding those responsible to account.
"The majority of those responsible are teenagers and we would ask parents to speak to their children and educate them about what they're doing. Not only are they potentially putting themselves and their community in danger, but they are putting themselves at risk of getting into trouble with the police."
In 2018, there were 73 number of attacks on firefighters, ranging from stones and rocks being thrown to fireworks being thrown during responses.
In 2019, there were 58 number of attacks on firefighters, this includes verbal abuse and harassment when responding to incidents.
In 2020, there was a significant drop in attacks on firefighters to 39 number this is mainly due to the coronavirus lockdown.
In 2021 those figures are already on the rise with 50 incidents since January, already surpassing last year's figure with two months of data still to be recorded.
You can report deliberate fire setting or any information you may have about attacks on firefighters anonymously.
You can report information to Northumbria Police through their website, by calling 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 080 555 111.
Or for deliberate fire setting call Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558 or report it through their website.