Local Senior Officer seeking public support in move towards #FireFreeHighland

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LSO Scott Hay presented his second quarter report to the Highland local scrutiny committee today

Fire Engines Night

The Highland area’s most senior fire officer is encouraging the public to help the service create a #FireFreeHighland.

The latest phase of ‘Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire’ campaign went live last week and focuses on Home Fire Safety Visits and the benefits of working smoke alarms.

Across Highland area, the Fire and Rescue Service continues its efforts to reduce incidents of accidental fires in the home.

Local Senior Officer for Highland, Scott Hay, presented his second quarter report to the local scrutiny committee at Highland Council HQ today.

The second quarter has witnessed a slight rise (eight more incidents compared to the same period last year) in accidental fires in the area during the second quarter of the year, with 36 reported.

However, LSO Hay said the service has been analysing the data and adopted a pro-active approach, concentrating on increasing awareness and the number of free Home Fire Safety Visits the service carried out in Highland.

At the end of the second quarter of this year a total of 1,859 Home Fire Safety Visits have been conducted. Although this is just under the target set for this period there has been a significant increase in the number of visits carried out compared to the first quarter. The percentage figure has increased from 75% to 93%.

LSO Hay was also keen to stress that there are other ways in which the public can help prevent fire, by registering their interest in becoming a retained firefighter.

Firefighters in the Retained Duty System (RDS) are individuals who live or work close to specific Community Fire Stations and can commit to providing an emergency response service for that station.

Most of them are women and men whose primary employment is in another field, but in addition to that, they provide the same range of emergency service as their full time firefighter colleagues in some of Scotland's smaller towns and rural villages.

LSO Hay said: “We are aware that retained numbers are not as high as we would ideally like, but we are always looking for expression of interest and we actively encourage people to consider becoming a retained firefighter.

“It is a thoroughly rewarding job and a great way of contributing to the safety of the communities in which potential candidates live.”

If you would like more information on how to become a retained firefighters visit the myjobscotland website and search for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging Twitter users in Highland region to spread the message and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #FireFreeHighland when posting messages with links to the SFRS webpage /your-safety/for-householders/home-fire-safety-visit.aspx

LSO Scott Hay said: “We are encouraging people to get in touch and book a free Home Fire Safety Visit and help us move towards a #FireFreeHighland. The service would like communities to consider their families and neighbours, who may be at risk and reminding them that they may be the only people who can help a vulnerable member of the public.

“Local fire-fighters are appealing to the wider community to consider fire safety in their homes. Cooking, alcohol consumption and careless disposal of smoking materials are all common features in the cause of accidental fires in the home.

“As the colder weather settles in more people will be using open fires and a variety of portable heaters to keep their homes warm. Please take care, use fire guards and take simple precautions to ensure there is no risk of furniture or clothing being too close.”

Scott Hay concluded: “We offer free Home Fire Safety Visits and we can provide and install free smoke alarms during the visit. If you or someone you know may benefit from a Home Fire Safety Visit, you can arrange this by visiting our website at www.firescotland.gov.uk or by calling 0800 0731 999 or text "Check" to 61611 from your mobile phone.”