Fire hydrant vandals could put lives at risk

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Police are warning vandals who set off fire hydrants that they could endanger lives and property and cause substantial disruption to water services.

With more dry and warm weather forecast, Police Scotland have been joined by Scottish Fire and Rescue and Scottish Water to urge anyone who witnesses such incidents to report them to the police immediately.

Fire hydrant vandalism tends to increase during warm, dry weather with the Greater Glasgow area experiencing the most.

Several incidents over the past couple of weeks have caused a loss of water supply to customers, low water pressure and/or discoloured water.

One recent attack happened in Ferguslea Terrace, Torrance and serious consequences could have resulted if there had been a fire as it’s primary purpose was as a connection point to allow access to the water network for the fire brigade.

Vandalism can also cause localised flooding in the streets.

Superintendent Jim Baird, of Police Scotland, said: “Police Scotland’s focus is on protecting the public. Setting off or damaging fire hydrants is dangerous, Not only for those doing it but also for the wider community. It can have potentially tragic consequences and endanger lives and we would ask any member of the public to report such acts of vandalism.

“Our emergency service partners in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service require immediate access to hydrants to deal with incidents they are called to attend – the potential impact of a damaged hydrant at the scene of a fire introduces a delay in response which could be devastating.

“Damaging a high pressure fire hydrant can lead to injury to passers-by or passing motorists. Anyone found misusing or vandalising them can be assured that police will take the appropriate action.

If you see anything suspicious in an emergency remember always call 999 or for non-urgent enquiries please use 101 and we will respond.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott, added, “We know that the majority of our young people are responsible citizens who wouldn’t dream of vandalising public property. Unfortunately, it’s clear that there are still those who feel it necessary to place lives at risk by damaging fire hydrants.

“It is essential that our firefighters have access to all available water sources during times of emergency and having an operational hydrant close-by can help extinguish flames quicker and reduce risk to life and property.”

And Jim Hassan, Glasgow operations manager for Scottish Water, said: “Some children and teenagers, and even some adults, think setting off a fire hydrant is fun and just a prank. But they’re wrong. Fire hydrant vandalism is very serious and can have potentially fatal consequences.

“Fire hydrants are essential for firefighting and an inadequate water supply can hamper the work of firefighters and so endanger lives and property.

“Fire hydrant vandalism can reduce vital water supplies to thousands of homes and affect whole communities, including care homes, medical centres, hospitals, schools and businesses.”

If you see anyone responsible for fire hydrant vandalism call charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or on www.fearless.org.