Christmas call to action for East Renfreshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde
19 December 2014
SFRS local senior officer calls on public to help crews prevent festive season tragedies.
Firefighters need the public’s help to prevent tragedy striking in East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde this Christmas.
With the festive season underway and people preparing to celebrate the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is reminding everyone of the steps they can take to protect their homes from fire.
Area Manager Paul Tanzilli, the local senior officer, said: “We want everyone celebrating Christmas to have a fantastic time without the terrible consequences of a fire in the home.
“The risks do go up at this time of year and communities typically see an increase in the number of house fires.
“Our crews will always do everything they can to save lives, but the fact is there are things we can all do to dramatically reduce the chance a fire will start.”
SFRS has compiled some simple measures the public can take to keep themselves safe from fire throughout the festive season.
The advice is to check Christmas lights have plugs fitted with the correct fuse, never overload extension leads and make sure all electrical devices are Intertek BEAB approved.
Christmas lights should always be switched off at night and when no-one will be home, while decorations and cards should be placed away from lights or other sources of heat.
Area Manager Tanzilli added: “A major risk factor is the combination of alcohol and cooking. Most house fires start in the kitchen and when people have been drinking their guard goes down, meaning it’s very easy for them to become distracted.
“If that happens when they’ve put something on to cook then it can quickly lead to a fire and result in serious injuries, the loss of their home, or even the loss of life.
“Our message to everyone is that alcohol and cooking are a lethal mix. We would ask people not to cook if they are under the influence, but anyone who does so must take extreme care.
“Where people have been killed in house fires the most common cause is smoking and the combination with alcohol is again a major risk.
“No-one should smoke in bed and anyone who has been drinking – or who just feels tired – should avoid smoking in a chair, as it’s just too easy to drift to sleep and start a potentially devastating fire.”
Firefighters want residents to consider their own safety and the safety of those close to them, with people urged to check if older family members, neighbours and friends have working smoke alarms.
With the area’s crews routinely conducting free home fire safety visits, the service wants to hear from anyone who thinks they could benefit from firefighters’ advice.
Area Manager Tanzilli continued: “Christmas is a time when people do look out for others and think about their well-being. That can make a real difference and help us prevent tragedies.
“It only takes a couple of minutes to check that someone’s smoke alarms are working properly and it really could save their life.
“Anyone who is worried a person they know may be at increased risk should put them in touch with us so that our firefighters can get them the support they need and help them stay safe and confident in their homes.”
To join Scotland’s fight against fire and register for a free home fire safety visit call the freephone SFRS number 0800 0731 999, text ‘check’ to 61611 or fill out a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.