Fire ser­vice of­fers pub­lic safety tips

SFRS tells how to stay safe dur­ing the win­ter

Strathearn Herald - - FESTIVE MESSAGES 2017 - Clare Damodaran

Fam­i­lies in Strat­hearn are be­ing urged to stay safe over the fes­tive pe­riod, as fig­ures show there were more than 500 ac­ci­den­tal house fires in Scot­land last Christ­mas.

Ac­cord­ing to the Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue (SFRS) there were 517 ac­ci­den­tal house fires be­tween De­cem­ber 7 2016 and Jan­uary 11 2017, an in­crease of 230 on the pre­vi­ous year.

The SFRS say this is due partly to an in­creased use of heat­ing and elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, and to peo­ple drink­ing more al­co­hol.

David McGown, di­rec­tor of preven­tion and pro­tec­tion at the fire ser­vice, said: “This win­ter SFRS will work closely with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and part­ner agen­cies to keep Scot­land safe from fire and other emer­gen­cies - but as al­ways, we need the pub­lic’s help to re­duce the amount of pre­ventable fires we might see in the com­ing months.

“I would di­rectly ap­peal to peo­ple to check if their el­derly rel­a­tives, neigh­bours or friends are in need of our sup­port and to con­tact us di­rectly.

“Home com­mu­nity fire safety vis­its are a key pil­lar of our preven­tion work that help safe­guard the pub­lic - es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents but also fam­i­lies and the wider com­mu­nity.

“These are free pre- ar­ranged vis­its where SFRS staff iden­tity signs to pro­tect peo­ple and their homes.

“SFRS staff can also iden­tify haz­ards in the home, help plan es­cape routes and sup­ply and in­stall smoke de­tec­tors for free - a vi­tal tool for ev­ery home.”

Mr McGown con­tin­ued: “Ev­ery year across Scot­land, there is a rise in emer­gency calls to SFRS due to win­ter weather.

“We urge the pub­lic to take ac­tion now and be pre­pared for what­ever haz­ards might come in the next few months.

“Win­ter weather also brings un­ex­pected and dan­ger­ous con­di­tions to our roads. It’s im­por­tant to en­sure that your ve­hi­cle is ser­viced, well main­tained and that driv­ers take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions when driv­ing in bad weather.”

Steps lo­cal res­i­dents can take to min­imise the risk of a fire start­ing in the home in­clude:

● Un­plug fairy lights or other elec­tri­cal Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions and blow out can­dles when you leave the house or go to bed.

● Never leave an elec­tric blan­ket switched on when you’re in bed un­less it’s marked ‘suit­able for all night use’.

● Keep lit can­dles away from chil­dren and pets, and from cur­tains or other flammable ma­te­ri­als.

● Doors slow down the spread of po­ten­tially deadly smoke and flames, so it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to close them at night.

● Check the plugs and flexes of your elec­tri­cal equip­ments reg­u­larly for dam­age. If you’re in any doubt, don’t use them un­til re­paired by a qual­i­fied elec­tri­cian.

● Keep portable heaters away from cur­tains and fur­ni­ture and never use them for dry­ing clothes. Switch them off be­fore you go to bed.

● Leav­ing cook­ers unat­tended or be­ing dis­tracted while cook­ing is the most fre­quent cause of fire in the home. Never cook hot food while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs.

● Most fa­tal fires are caused by smoker’s ma­te­ri­als. Don’t smoke in your chair or if you’ve been drink­ing or you’re feel­ing tired. If you do feel tired smoke out­side or stand up and smoke at a win­dow or out­side door.

● It is es­sen­tial that your home has a work­ing smoke alarm on each level of the prop­erty. If a fire starts, this will give you and your fam­ily time to get to safety. Check your smoke, heat and car­bon monox­ide alarms are work­ing weekly and re­place bat­ter­ies if nec­es­sary.

The Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice of­fers ev­ery­one in Scot­land a free home fire safety visit and can also fit smoke alarms free of charge if your home re­quires them.

For a free home fire safety visit, call 0800 0731 999.

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