Make sure you avoid a festive fire tragedy
Firefighters in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are calling on residents to take steps to avoid festive tragedies.
Increased risks at this time of year see Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews frequently called to emergencies where people and property are in danger.
Area Manager Alan Fairbairn, the local senior officer, said: “This is traditionally a busy time of year for our crews but many of the emergencies we see could be prevented if people had recognised common risks and taken action to address them.
“Over the next few weeks most of us will be celebrating and of course this often involves people drinking alcohol.
“Most house fires start in the kitchen and when someone has been drinking their guard goes down, meaning it’s very easy for them to become distracted.
“If they try to cook it can easily result in a house fire with horrific consequences, so we want people to understand alcohol and cooking can be a deadly mix and choose not to put themselves and others in danger.”
While cooking remains the most common cause of fire within the home, a number of other risk factors also contribute to December and January being the months with the highest number of house fires.
Smoking, often combined with alcohol, is the main cause of fatal fires and people who smoke are urged never to do so in bed or even if they’re tired and sitting in a chair, as falling asleep could cause a devastating fire.
Firefighters are also clear on the need for residents to make sure festive decorations are not inviting tragedy.
Area Manager Fairbairn added: “We want everyone who is marking the festive season to have a great time and not experience the tragedy that can follow a fire within the home.
“Christmas lights and other electrical decorations should always be unplugged when you leave the house or go to bed.
“Bulbs can become very hot so we need to make sure they aren’t touching materials that scorch or burn easily and they need to be in good working order – so any that have blown should be changed.”
“It’s also vitally important people don’t overload sockets. If you need to plug more than one appliance into an electrical socket then please use a multi-socket adaptor which is fitted with a fuse and has surge protection.
“If people are using candles then they need to make sure they’re always out of the reach of children and never lit where they could be easily knocked over.
“They also need to be positioned away from things that could catch fire – including Christmas trees, cards, ribbons and other decorations – and a lit candle should never be left unattended.”
SFRS is appealing for everyone to help protect those around them, particularly older people who may need some help and support to stay safe in their homes.
Free home fire safety visits, conducted by local firefighters, can be arranged by calling 0800 0731 999 or visiting www.firescotland. gov.uk, where people can also find a wide range of tips on how to stay safe.
Safety first make sure you and your family aren’t put in danger this Christmas