Firefighters need the public’s help to prevent tragedy striking in East Dunbartonshire 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 Connelly, the local senior officer, said: “The risks go up at this time of year and communities typically see an increase in the number of house fires.
“Firefighters will always do everything they can to save lives but everyone can help prevent tragedies by taking steps to reduce the chance a fire will start.
“We want everyone celebrating Christmas to have a fantastic time – one that’s free of the terrible consequences that follow of 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 Connelly added: “The combination of alcohol and cooking is a very common cause of house fires and the injuries that result from them.
“Most fires within the home begin in the kitchen and if someone has been drinking it’s very easy for them to become distracted.
“If that happens when they’ve put something on the cooker then it can quickly lead to a fire, leading to serious injuries, severe damage to the home, or even someone being killed.
“Everyone needs to know alcohol and cooking can be a lethal mix. We would ask people not to cook if they are under the influence, but anyone who does must take extreme care.
“The most common cause when someone loses their life in a house fire is smoking, with the combination with alcohol again a major risk factor.
“No-one should smoke in bed and anyone who has been drinking, or who just feels tired, should not smoking in a chair. It’s just 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 Connelly continued: “People look out for others that little bit more at Christmas and that can make a real difference and help prevent tragedies.
“It only takes a couple of minutes to check that a friend , relative or neighbour’s smoke alarms are working properly and it really could save their life.
“Anyone who is worried someone they know may be at increased risk should put them in touch with us. 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.