Tough targets can be hit say Fife fire service

Firefighters from White Watch at Sighthill Fire Station , off on another call with lights and sirens blazing .

Firefighters from White Watch at Sighthill Fire Station , off on another call with lights and sirens blazing .

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Fife Fire and Rescue Service are reporting another excellent year in terms of performance against key headline indicators, according to a recent report.

The Service Plan, presented to the region’s Police, Fire and Safety Committee earlier this month, revealed the Kingdom’s force is one of the best in the country.

Since 2003, the number of accidental house fires has decreased by over 24 per cent and casualties have dropped by over 61 per cent.

Last year there were 20 incidents resulting in 22 casualties and four fatalities and 247 house fires.

The most common causes were when a power supply was turned or left on; cookers and ovens; and faults and defects in an appliance.

The figures, which are statutory performance indicators used by each fire and rescue service as a benchmark.

They confirm Fife Fire and Rescue Service as one of the top performing services in the country, with the lowest casualty numbers for four out of the last five years across Scotland.

Challenges

Alex Smart, group manager performance and governance, said: “We strive for continued improvement and have reviewed our targets for the coming year.

‘‘We have realistic and challenging targets set for the next five years to drive down the number of fires and casualties in our local communities.”

The report also showed the fire service continues to exceed targets in other sectors including secondary fires, which include rubbish and grass, (29 per cent below target) and wilful fire raising which is below target by 21 per cent.

Darrell Lindsay, station manager in community safety, explained that a number of initiatives and campaigns organised locally have had an impact.

He said: “The DiversiFIRE project is aimed at young people to reduce anti-social behaviour, in particular wilful fire raising, secondary fires and hoax calls.

“Last year, 40 young people completed the project, and that, along with a number of other education programmes contribute to deliver this success.”

But despite the good progress, Fife missed its target in reducing hoax calls.

The service received 130 hoaxes against a target of 111 - but senior officers are confident that this is a spike in a five year downward trend.

Hoax dangers

As part of their work to combat the problem, primary school children are told of the dangers and implications of making hoax calls, and a DVD is being produced using local actors and locations to highlight the dangers.

The fire service pro-actively investigate every hoax call received, working with Fife Police and telephone subscribers to identify those responsible for putting the lives of others.

Fife’s chief fire officer, Neil McFarlane, said: “All personnel in the service have a ‘can do’ attitude to their work.

‘‘Their professionalism and commitment ensures the service remains a highly credible resource in driving down risk. They have to be commended in their achievements and more importantly, in their contribution towards our aim of making our communities safe.”

But it’s not just about fighting fires for the service’s teams.

They also work hard in communities to prevent fires and injuries - and prevention remains their number one priority.

Firefighters have carried out 4658 home fire safety risk assessments and fitted over 6300 long life smoke detectors free of charge for residents.

Since late last year, the fire service has been installing wi-fi smoke detection equipment for the deaf and hard of hearing in association with Fife Council’s social work department, and radio enabled smoke detection equipment in telecare premises, along with the Fife Cares team, allowing people to live with greater independence and safety in their own homes.