Keeping Scotland’s Older People Safe from Fire in 2015

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Every hour, of every day, there is a house fire in Scotland. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) want 2015 to be the safest year yet for Scotland – that’s why we’re asking the public to take action now and help us to protect the older people in our communities from preventable house fires.

SFRS will run television, radio and newspaper adverts from the 9 – 11 January and 16 – 18 January highlighting what people can do to protect themselves and older people within their communities from house fires. Most importantly, SFRS is appealing to the public to ensure that they have working smoke alarms in their homes that are tested regularly. Working smoke and heat alarms are the best way to ensure early warning if fire does break out, providing vital time to escape and raise the alarm. Make sure you have working smoke alarms and consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen too.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, SFRS, said:

“We know from experience that older people are particularly vulnerable to house fires. We need the public to act now and join Scotland’s fight against fire – we’re asking you to organise a Home Fire Safety Visit for the older people in your communities. It could be a relative, friend or neighbour – call SFRS today on freephone 0800 0731 999, text “fire” to 80800 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk. Home Fire Safety Visits save lives – local firefighters will visit your property, check for any fire hazards and provide advice to make your home safer and test or fit smoke alarms where necessary. We also recommend that the public consider fitting heat alarms too. These are specially designed for the kitchen and are not activated by smoke, preventing false alarms but offering early detection of kitchen fires which is the number one cause of fires in the home.

“Over the last five years three-quarters of preventable fire deaths in Scotland were people aged 50 years or over, and almost a third of people injured through fire were aged 60 or over. There are a number of reasons for this, such as the fact older people may spend more time at home or live alone. They are also more likely to be affected by limited mobility, long term medical conditions, dementia and other cognitive impairments, limited sight or hearing and some types of medication. We are absolutely committed to helping older people age safely, particularly those who are vulnerable and may be most at risk. Our crews constantly work with a number of partners to achieve this but the help of the public is absolutely key to successfully preventing fire tragedies. I urge anyone who knows an older person to discuss fire safety with them and help ensure they can access the great support that really is just a phone call away and could prevent a tragedy.

“Television, radio and newspapers adverts will run over January with reminders on our social media channels – if you don’t ‘follow’ us already, search ‘Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’ on Facebook and Twitter now to start getting useful fire safety advice for you, your family and friends.

“There are some quick and easy measures we can all take to stay protected like knowing where keys are in the event of an emergency, planning our escape routes, staying safe in the kitchen and never ever removing the batteries from a smoke alarm. There is plenty of information online – take just five minutes now and visit older people - it could save a life.

Join Scotland’s fight against fire and visit us online at www.firescotland.gov.uk

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