Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to remind the public about the importance of being sensible when making charity shop donations during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The extra time at home and reopening of non-essential shops means an increase in the number of people wanting to make donations of unwanted but still usable items is likely. Once storage space has been exhausted, shops will inevitably have a limit on how many items they can accept at any one time, which could lead to people leaving bags of donations in shop thresholds.
Station Manager David Waters said: “Whilst we realise that leaving donations outside the doors of charity shops is meant well, it is actually fly tipping and creates problems for the charities as they then have to divert time and resources to dispose of those items.
Of even greater concern is the fire risk that such items present – lending themselves as a means of combustible material to arson opportunists and may even compromise the premises’ means of escape.
We are asking that people either hang onto items for a little longer until shops can start taking donations again or seek an alternative avenue for re-homing their belongings.”
Across Dorset and Wiltshire, many communities have developed their own grass-roots initiatives to help unneeded items find their way to a useful new home. DWFRS are urging people to contact their local town or parish councils or check local newspapers and social media pages to see what opportunities are available in each area.
Arson is the largest single cause of fires attended by Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) nationally. This means UK FRS resources are made unavailable to attend other critical incidents and deliver essential fire prevention work, because they were engaged with fires set intentionally.
The Prevention and Youth Intervention teams at DWFRS work to educate and help people to disengage from firesetting behaviours, but businesses are responsible for ensuring they take steps to reduce the risk of arson on their premises. Help them to keep up this good work, by refraining from leaving items on their doorstep.
For more information about combatting arson, visit: https://www.dwfire.org.uk/business-fire-safety/business-safety-during-coronavirus-outbreak/combating-arson/