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Don’t Give Fire A Home this winter
A map showing where house fires took place across Scotland over the last year has been unveiled at the launch of an annual fire safety campaign.
The ‘Scotland’s Hottest Postcodes’ map reveals that while the highest concentration of house fires in 2011-12 were centred around built-up areas such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, house fires affect homes throughout Scotland.
Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Government and the Fire and Rescue Services’ campaign at Crewe Toll Fire Station in Edinburgh, Community Safety and Legal Affairs Minister Roseanna Cunningham urged householders not to be complacent with the approaching festive season bringing a range of extra hazards into the home.
Ms Cunningham said:
“While the number of house fires in Scotland is at its lowest in a decade, this map shows no region of Scotland is untouched by the dangers of fire, and underlines the importance of keeping your family safe from the risks.
“As we approach December, we want everybody to enjoy the festivities this and every year in a way which is safe from the dangers of fire.
“The Scottish Government, the Fire and Rescue Services and our partners continue to work hard educating people about the dangers of fire, and the most important message we can give is never be complacent and always be on your guard, particularly when smoking or drinking alcohol.
“We know that smoking and drinking are causes for a considerable number of fires in Scotland. Smoking materials and matches was the primary cause for more than one in twelve accidental house fires last year, while we also know that alcohol and/or drugs was suspected to be a factor in at least one in six accidental house fires.
“Smoking, alcohol consumption, cooking accidents, misuse of electrical appliances or the overloading of electrical sockets are all potential risks. I fully support our fire and rescue services across Scotland to continue doing their excellent work to help people better understand these risks.”
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Deputy Chief Officer Alex Clark said:
“Firefighters know all too well that fire can strike at anytime and anywhere. We respond to these incidents every day in Scotland and we see the devastating consequences of accidental house fires and the impact it has on families and our communities. We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the chances of you having a fire in your home.
“There are very simple steps you can take to protect yourself. Through a free home safety visit carried out by local firefighters you can have smoke detectors fitted and get valuable first-hand advice from the experts on how to reduce your risk of a fire and what to do if the worst happens.
“Historically as we go into the winter months we see a rise in the number of accidental dwelling fires. This can be for a number of reasons from people spending more time in their homes to an increased reliance on electrical products like heaters, tumble dyers and electric blankets and the use of log and coal burning fires. If you smoke or drink at home this also raises your risk of a fire and we would remind you to be extra vigilant. If you’ve been drinking, avoid cooking. It’s a common cause of accidental house fires and your ability to respond in an emergency will be impaired by alcohol.
“I would urge people to take the time to think about their fire safety in the home and take up the opportunity of a free home safety visit from the fire and rescue service. It could save your life one day.”
To minimise the risk, every home should have working smoke alarms which are tested weekly to provide early warning of the onset of fire.
Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) are a key prevention tool. They take around 20 minutes and are free. They are delivered by Fire and Rescue Service personnel who help assess fire risks in their home, offer fire safety advice and where appropriate, install a free smoke alarm(s).
Text FIRE to 61611 or visit www.dontgivefireahome.org to request a free Home Fire Safety Visit and get fire safety advice.