Stay fire safe this Christmas
There are over 5000 accidental house fires in Scotland every year and cooking is the number one cause.
And this week Firefighters have appealed for the public to help them prevent tragedies while cooking in the kitchen.
Many of the most serious fires which lead to injury or death are due to people cooking under the influence of alcohol.
Now the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is encouraging people to avoid cooking if they’ve been drinking in the house or when they get home from a night out.
Group Manager David Jardine, the SFRS Head of Prevention and Protection within Dumfries & Galloway, said: “The fact is that for many years cooking has been the number one cause of house fires in Scotland.
“Weekends are often a peak time for cooking fires, especially where someone has been drinking.
“Very often it is when people are tired or under the influence of alcohol, that a cooking fire results in someone being injured or killed.
“Our message is if you’re feeling hungry after a night out don’t cook, consider buying pre-cooked food or prepare a cold snack instead.
“The risk of falling asleep is too high and too often we see the tragic results of someone falling asleep with the cooker on.”
There’s another way to stay even safer - fit a heat alarm in your kitchen.
“These are specially designed for the kitchen and are not activated by smoke, preventing false alarms.”
David Jardine added: “It only takes a moment of distraction, or falling asleep, for a fire in the home to start.
“Making sure your home has working smoke alarms is vital.
“They will alert you as soon as a fire starts giving you a vital early warning which could save your life; Cooking fires can happen to anyone but older people are particularly at risk.
“Over the last five years 61 percent of house fire deaths in Scotland were people aged 60 years or over – and over a third of people injured through fire were aged 60 or over.”
With older people clearly being particularly at risk from fire, SFRS are offering a free service which could save lives.
David Jardine continued: “These home fire safety visits are a cornerstone of our prevention efforts and have contributed to a marked decrease in the number of incidents including those involving fatalities and casualties over the last decade.
“Our firefighters will visit your home to identify any hazards.
“They will also assist in developing an escape plan as well as supply and install smoke alarms for free.
“We are here to help everyone stay safe within the home but we are particularly keen to support the most vulnerable and elderly within our communities.
“That is why we appeal to everyone to check if their elderly relatives, friends or neighbours are in need of this vital support - and to contact us directly.”
To register for a Home Fire Safety Visit call the SFRS freephone number 0800 0731 999 text ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or visit the website at www. firescotland.gov.uk 1. Never walk away while you’re cooking. It’s easy to be distracted when cooking. It’s easy for a cooking fire to start. It only takes a minute. 2. Take extra care if you suffer from any illness, disability or are taking prescribed medications that makes you careless or forgetful.
Advice Group Manager David Jardine