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Firefighters speak out about attacks in video released as part of autumn safety campaign

 FIREFIGHTERS have spoken out about the impact of having stones and bricks thrown at them when responding to incidents. 

As part of its autumn safety campaign and following a recent spate of firefighter attacks, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has released a video featuring personal experiences of two firefighters who have been targeted while protecting the community. 

In the video released today (Thursday, October 19, 2017), firefighters talk about the impact of these incidents, which potentially put people’s lives at risk.

Crew Manager Pete Wilmot said: “When you get attacked it’s frustrating. We’re only there to put fires out so people don’t get hurt, we’re just normal people that want to go home to our families.

“It is becoming more common and it does make my crew quite angry. It’s upsetting sometimes.”

The video has been launched as part of GMFRS’ annual autumn safety campaign, Treacle – a multi-agency Halloween and Bonfire Night campaign that runs from Sunday, October 15 – the day fireworks legally go on sale in the UK – to Monday, November 6.

There have been a spate of attacks on firefighters in Greater Manchester in the past few weeks, including three in Bolton on Tuesday night (October 17, 2017).

The first attack came at 6.31pm as firefighters responded to a fire involving a wheelie bin full of tree branches in Rumworth Park, Bolton.

When firefighters arrived they were met by a group of between 20 to 30 youths who threw missiles at them. A large stick that was thrown struck a member of the public who was speaking with the crew manager at the time.

Later that day at 7.58pm, crews were called to an incident in Holmes House Avenue, Wigan. Wheelie bins were set on fire and once again, whilst firefighters were dealing with the incident a large group of youths threw sticks and fireworks at them.

Then just after midnight, another attack happened in Liverpool Road, Eccles, when firefighters were called to a building fire. On arrival, a group of people were verbally abusive and threatened the crew.

Just last week, crews in Wigan suffered similar attacks.

Group Manager for Bolton and Wigan, Lee Coleman, said: “We are seeing an increase in attacks on our firefighters, particularly in Bolton and Wigan, and we are doing everything we can with our partners to identify those involved.

“All our fire appliances have 360 degree CCTV cameras and crew in Greater Manchester are now trialling body worn cameras that allow us to record incidents that occur away from fire engines. Any footage that captures attacks on our crews will be handed to the police and people can be prosecuted.”

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Beverley Hughes, said: “These attacks take up the extremely valuable time and resources of our emergency services and will not be tolerated.”

ENDS

Last update: 19/10/2017 16:39:42
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