ELDERLY people in Moray, smokers, drinkers and those who live alone are all vulnerable to accidental house fires this winter.
And a fire safety tour has been encouraging residents in the area to take extra measures to protect their homes during the colder season.
Firefighters are asking Moray folk, particularly those whose circumstances put them at greater risk to fire, to get in touch to arrange a free home fire safety visit soon.
The tour, delivered by the Scottish Government in partnership with Grampian Fire and Rescue, visited a number of towns including Forres and Elgin during November. Fire fighters and staff provided locals with fire safety advice and highlighted the importance of having working smoke alarms installed which are tested once a week.
People were also warned not to be complacent when smoking or drinking alcohol in the home, and urged to have the proper protection in place should the worst happen.
National figures show smoking materials and matches were the primary cause of more than one in twelve accidental hours fires, and alcohol and/or drugs was suspected to be a factor in at least one in six accidental house fires.
For Grampian, of the 657 house fires in the past year, 46 per cent didn’t have a working smoke alarm or had no smoke alarm at all. Over the same period, four people in the region lost their lives and 118 people were hurt or injured.
Grampian Fire and Rescue station manager, Mike Cordiner, said a working smoke alarm is the most effective way of providing early warning of the onset of fire.
"It’s worth taking the time today to test your smoke alarm, or install smoke alarms if you don’t have any," he said. "A free home fire safety visit is a quick and easy way to make sure your home is safe."
To request a free visit, text FIRE to 61611 or visit www.dontgivefireahome.org.