Published: 02/03/2014 05:00 - Updated: 28/02/2014 15:21

Moray urged to back fire safety campaign

A CAMPAIGN aimed at protecting older people from the devastating effects of fire is appealing for support in Moray.Scottish Fire Rescue logo

The Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire public safety campaign was launched by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) on Friday and continues until the end of March.

Fire chiefs are seeking help from the Moray public to lessen the danger of fire faced by people who are most at risk.

Local senior officer, David Rout, highlight the risks of toxic smoke to all people but said the effects of smoke inhalation are more serious for older people.

"Across the country more than 1,300 people aged 60 and over have been injured in fires since 2009. A further 107 lost their lives," he said.

"There are simple steps people can take to ensure these fire tragedies don’t happen in the first place.

"We need the public to answer our call to action and let us know of anyone who may be vulnerable."

Scotland has seen a steady fall in house fires over recent years as the country’s frontline crews have taken on a greater role in efforts to prevent fires and protect communities.

There has been a steady fall in the number of house fires across the country. When blazes have broken out, firefighters now routinely visit a large number of homes within that community in the days following the fire to raise awareness of the risks and support residents to keep their homes fire safe.

Partnerships with the NHS, social work departments, housing providers, the police and third sector organisations help firefighters target their prevention work more effectively, but the public themselves are key to protecting vulnerable residents.

"Ten years ago working smoke alarms were found in only a third of homes struck by fire. Now almost half of affected properties have these life-saving devices," LSO Rout said.

"The chances of someone being seriously hurt or killed as a result of a house fire are greatly reduced if a house is protected by working smoke alarms.

"As a result of these devices, almost two-thirds of people who were involved in a fire last year needed only first aid at the scene or a precautionary check-up in hospital. By alerting people to the danger early they also help firefighters limit damage to property.

"People need to discuss fire safety with their relatives, friends and neighbours – particularly those who may be at risk in some way."

SFRS’s message to the public is to encourage people around them to get a free home fire safety visit, or to call on their behalf.

"These visits are designed to be informal and straightforward, take about half an hour and are delivered by firefighters from your community."

Crews assess the risks within a home and share their expert tips to help residents take the simple steps to lower the risk of fire and raise their chance of escaping unhurt if a blaze breaks out.

Households get their own specific fire action plan to help themselves and other family members take very easy measures, like closing doors fully at night and making sure everyone knows how to get out if the alarm sounds.

By slowing the spread of toxic smoke, intense heat and flames, these quick and easy steps can make all the difference if a fire does strike within a home.

Firefighters also install long-life battery smoke alarms where they are needed and can refer householders for additional services – such as linked fire alarms or fire-retardant bedding – if they would benefit from them.

Anyone can arrange a free home fire safety visit by calling SFRS on the freephone number 0800 0731 999 or by texting ‘check’ to 61611. People can also fill out a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk or contact their local community fire station.

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