Fire service issues festive message urging people to remain safe in their homes
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The public is being reminded to stay safe around fire this winter, and support firefighters by identifying vulnerable individuals who may need assistance.
An increased use of heating and electricity over the colder months, combined with festive lights, trees, decorations, and candles can heighten the risk of a fire potentially taking hold, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) says.
The service’s Make The Call campaign was launched earlier this year and appealed directly to the family, friends, and neighbours of those who are most at risk of fire to get in touch with SFRS on their behalf to request a free home visit on 0800 0731 999.
Latest figures show that 446 homes in Scotland were affected by accidental fires between December 9 2019 and January 13 2020.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Ali Perry said: "Every year we see an increase in the risk of fire in the home during the festive season and we want to support families across Scotland to stay safe at this time of year.
"One death because of a fire in the home is one too many and the aftermath of a fire can be absolutely devastating for those affected.
"That’s why we are reaching out to every community in Scotland this winter – please follow our advice and guidance to help us keep you safe and help us reach the most vulnerable and elderly people in our society."
During a home visit, SFRS staff will identify fire hazards and risks in the home, help plan escape routes and provide information about smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms. All visits are carried out in line with Covid-19 guidance and regulations.
DACO Perry says cooking and alcohol intake is one of the main causes of fire.
An overall increase in electricity use alongside the traditional use of candles, Christmas decorations and lights and portable heaters or traditional fuel burning fireplaces has also been linked to a heightened risk of fire.
"By just taking a few essential steps you can massively reduce the risk of a fire in your house," he said.
"If you can’t get online, then get in touch with us through your local station who will be more than happy to offer help and guidance.
"We want everyone to remember this Christmas and new year for all the right reasons.
"Taking a few minutes to look at our advice can help keep you and those around you safe."