Home safety visits key to reducing accidental fires in Fife

More home fire safety visits are being carried out in a bid to reduce the number accidental fires across Fife.

Monday, 2nd May 2016, 4:55 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd May 2016, 6:02 pm
Firefighters would rather carry out home safety visits than have to deal with the consequences of an accidental fire. (Photo: George McLuskie)

Between April and December 2015, firefighters in the Kingdom carried out 5480 home safety visits – 46 per cent above target.

The actual number of accidental fires in residential properties rose slightly in the same period – up five per cent compared to the previous three-year average.

But a decrease in the severity of incidents is viewed of greater significance, with the number of fatalities and casualties falling by 49 per cent.

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Much of this reduction could be due to the home visits, with firefighters fitting smoke detectors to provide early warning and teaching people how to react should a fire break out.

Steven Michie, group manager for prevention and protection in Fife, who presented the latest performance report to Fife Council’s safer communities committee, said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) works closely with partner agencies and communities to reduce the number of house fires through the delivery of targeted visits.

“As part of these visits fire safety advice is given on a number of home fire safety risk areas, for example, leaving cooking unattended, a fire escape plan and testing and maintaining smoke detectors.

“Partnership working and the delivery of home fire safety visits are crucial in helping to reduce the number of accidental dwelling fires.

“We continue to work with our partners to ensure those who are most at risk or vulnerable from fire or harm in the home are identified and that appropriate risk reduction measures are put in place.”

While the reduction in the number of fire-related injuries was welcomed, there were still 23 casualties in the period April to December 2015, and, tragically, one death.

Mr Michie said: “The SFRS vision is to have no fire fatalities or casualties throughout Scotland and we are striving to achieve this through partnership working with Fife Council, Police Scotland and social and health care partners, and these links will continue to develop and implement risk reduction strategies.”

Fife communities have also seen a reduction of deliberate fires. There were 576 deliberate fires recorded between April and December 2015, a reduction of three per cent compared to the previous three-year average.

Mr Michie said firefighters were working hard to build relationships with the young people and give advice on how to avoid getting involved in wilful fire raising and hoax calls.

“It is pleasing to note that deliberate fires are maintaining a decline and incidents involving refuse were the lowest on record,” he added. “We will continue to highlight the impact on our communities of fire-related anti-social behaviour.”

A number of initiatives have been undertaken to try to reduce these incidents, such as school visits, community clean-up activities and engagement with youth groups.

• To register for a free home fire safety visit call the SFRS on 0800 0731 999, or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk