Levenmouth leads on fire safety

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Accidental house fires and injuries and death from fire in the Levenmouth area continue to fall - but deliberate fire setting has increased.

In a report to councillors, Stephen Thomson, station manager for Methil, St Monans and Anstruther, explained that while home fire safety continues to improve, there are certain individuals responsible for fires in outside spaces, namely at the Bawbee Brig.

Mr Thomson said the fire service in Levenmouth was working with Police Scotland to try to reduce the figure of 85 recorded incidents between April and September 2015, which is a jump of 39 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Mr Thomson said there was a ‘spike’ at the start of the year, due to youngsters gathered at the Bawbee Brig area who were setting fire to rubbish in order to stay warm, while many other deliberate fire setting incidents were due to rubbish and bins being set alight.

Meanwhile, Levenmouth continues to see a drop in the number of accidental house fires, with just 11 occuring between April and September 2015, a reduction of 15 per cent.

“And what the figures don’t show is the severity of the fires, of which eight were related to cooking and three were already extinguished before the fire service arrived,” explained Mr Thomson.

And in good news for the area, there were no fatalities or casualties resulting from fires in the area during the period, compared with 18 for the whole of Fife.

The report, delivered to councillors at the area committee also noted that the fire service in Levenmouth was called upon to assist with casualties at seven road traffic collisions, and were called out to 142 false fire alarms, which is an increase of 13 on last year.

“We are working with premises who have these false alarms, most of which are hospitals and care homes, on how to reduce the number,” said Mr Thomson.

During the period April to September 2015, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) staff in Methil managed to carry out a total of 748 home fire safety visits compared with a target of 450 for the period. Stephen Thomson said: “When we see the number of dwelling fires and casualties going down, we see that these visits are making a difference.” During some of the visits, staff had to install fire alarms for residents, but Mr Thomson explained that at this point, around 85-90 per cent of homes are already fitted with an alarm, although some are not working or not fit for purpose (in which case they are replaced). The home fire safety visit figures for Levenmouth are much higher than anywhere else in Scotland, with services in other parts of the country using Fife as a best practice model. Mr Thomson also explained that local staff are now carrying out a number of home safety visits, which they offer to homes with under fives and over 65s. The visits include assessment on trip hazards and making your home child friendly. To take advantage, contact the service on 0800 0731 999.