A dramatic drop in arsons and fewer people injured in accidental fires were among the key successes achieved by West Midlands Fire Service in the first three months of 2012/13.

Cases of arson involving people's homes, vehicles and non-domestic premises, plus arson of derelict buildings and rubbish, were all down, dropping by an average of 49 per cent on the same period last year.

From April-June 2012, there were also 30 fewer accidental fires in people's homes, a drop of seven per cent from 440 in the same three months in 2011, while the number of people taken to hospital after being injured by accidental fires at home halved, from 18 to nine.

Councillor John Edwards, Chair of the fire and rescue authority, said: "The dramatic drop in arson during the quarter is very welcome, as is fewer people being injured in accidental fires. It's also great news that firefighters' sickness levels are better than target and that, overall, the average number of days our staff take off sick is improving.

"As the report states, there are still some things we need to do better. In the main, though, West Midlands Fire Service is meeting targets and improving in many of the wide and varied services it provides."

Although wet weather is thought to have played some part in stopping arsonists from striking outdoors, the figures reflect the ongoing efforts of WMFS, the region's Arson Task Force and partners in proactively securing empty and derelict buildings, and tidying up land.

The task force's 'Keep your business in business' initiative is doing its bit to help companies avoid the devastating effects of fire. Around a fifth of business arson is started outside, often in skips or bins left too close to the property.

Members of the West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority's Scrutiny Committee will consider a report on WMFS's first quarter performance at a meeting next month - you can read the full report here.

Posted 31/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com