Help protect Ayrshire from fire this Christmas

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SFRS local senior officer for East, North and South Ayrshire calls on public to recognise festive season risks.

SFRS name line on appliance

Firefighters in Ayrshire need the public’s help to prevent tragedy striking 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 Jim Scott – the local senior officer for East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire – said: “The risks go up at this time of year and communities across the country typically see the number of house fires increase.

“When emergencies strike our crews will always do everything they can to save lives, but everyone can help keep the area safe by taking simple steps to reduce the chance of a fire happening.

“We want everyone celebrating Christmas to have a great time but to do so in safety, without the trauma and tragedy that can follow a fire in the home.”

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 Scott added: “Most fires within the home begin in the kitchen and it is very clear that cooking while under the influence of alcohol is a serious risk.

“It only takes a moment’s distraction after putting something on the cooker for a fire to start. What starts as a small incident can very quickly cause serious injuries, destroy a home or even see someone killed.

“Everyone needs to know alcohol and cooking can be a lethal mix. We would ask people not to cook if they have been drinking and anyone who does must take extreme care.

“Fatal house fires most often result from smoking and the risk is again greater when alcohol is involved.

“No-one should smoke in bed. Anyone who has been drinking or who just feels tired should avoid smoking in a chair as it’s too easy to fall asleep and start a 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 Scott continued: “Most people look out for others a bit more at Christmastime. It can make a real difference and help prevent tragedies.

“Taking a couple of minutes to check that a friend, a family member of neighbour has working smoke alarms really could save their life.

“Anyone who is concerned they know someone who might be at increased risk from fire should put them in touch with us, so we can get them the support to stay safe and feel safe 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.

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