Stay fire safe this Christ­mas

Hamilton Advertiser - - NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS -

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.

Sta­tion Man­ager Alis­tair Ste­wart, the Scot­tish Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice’s Preven­tion and Pro­tec­tion Of­fi­cer within South La­nark­shire, 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.”

Alis­tair Ste­wart 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.

Alis­tair Ste­wart 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

Re­mem­ber: fire starts when your at­ten­tion stops

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. 3. If you’re tired, have been drink­ing, or tak­ing drugs, you will be less alert to the signs of fire. You are more likely to fall asleep.

Ad­vice Sta­tion Man­ager Alis­tair Ste­wart

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