Home visits help tackle fire threat

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Home fire safety visits being carried out by the fire service across Fife have contributed to a reduction in the number of house fires in the region.

That’s the message councillors heard from local senior officer for the Kingdom, Iain Vincent, last week.

Mr Vincent delivered a performance report for the fire service at a meeting of Fife Council’s safer communities committee and chairman Kenny Selbie welcomed the report as “very positive news for fire safety in Fife”.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has exceeded its target number of home fire safety visits in the region for the first quarter of this year.

From April 1 to June 30 this year, firefighters in Fife carried out 1851 visits, against a target of 1250 – an increase of 48 per cent.

Mr Vincent said: “These visits have been conducted using a direct targeted approach using local knowledge and intelligence to target the higher risk areas.

“They have also been conducted following self-referrals and referrals from a range of partner agencies as well as being conducted following our attendance at incidents.”

However Mr Vincent warned: “We can’t be complacent. Although our figures show a decrease of 30 per cent in accidental dwelling fires and 37 per cent in fire casualties against the same period last year, they also show 13 of these had no smoke alarms and 10 had non-working smoke alarms. That’s over 47 per cent of the dwelling fires we attended had no means of early warning and detection.”

A reduction in deliberate fires by 28 per cent over the same period is being attributed by the service to the work being done with youths in the DiversiFIRE youth engagement programme and with crews visiting schools to highlight the dangers and consequences of deliberate fire setting.

Malicious false alarms also saw a 65 per cent decrease.