North Lanarkshire public can help prevent Christmas tragedy
18 December 2014
The SFRS local senior officer issues festive safety call.
Firefighters in North Lanarkshire 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 John Miller, the local senior officer, said: “The risks go up at this time of year and sadly that means we see a rise in the number of house fires.
“Whenever emergencies strike North Lanarkshire our crews do everything they can to save lives, but everyone can help us keep the area safe from tragedy.
“We want people to have a great time at Christmas but we don’t want them to suffer the trauma that fire brings in its wake.”
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 Miller added: “Most fires within the home begin in the kitchen and it’s very clear that cooking while under the influence of alcohol is a serious risk.
“Fire starts in an instant. It only takes a moment’s distraction after putting something on the cooker for flames to break out and what starts as a small incident can quickly spread.
“There are too many stories of a moment of carelessness leading to serious injuries, destroying an entire home or even resulting in the loss of life.
“We advise people not to cook if they have been drinking and anyone who does must take extreme care. Everyone needs to know alcohol and cooking can be a lethal mix.
“Fatal house fires most often result from smoking and the risk is again greater when alcohol is involved.
“No-one should smoke in bed and if you’ve been drinking – or even if you just feel tired – then you 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 Miller continued: “Christmas is a time when people generally look out for others. That makes a real difference and helps to prevent tragedies.
“Taking a couple of minutes to make sure 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.