Dundee has seen an encouraging drop in the number of accidental house fires according to the latest figures issued today by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
Group Manager for Dundee, Martin Tait, presented the service’s third quarter report to the local scrutiny committee last night.
For the period between October and December 2014 there were 46 accidental fires reported in the City of Discovery, compared to 57 for the same period last year and the figure is also well below the five year average figure of 62.
The report also highlighted further reductions in other areas such as the number of non-fatal fire casualties encountered, with 9 reported compared to last year’s total of 14 and the five year average of 12.
Group Manager Tait said: “The number of accidental house fire incidents is well below the five year average. Of these incidents 35 had a smoke alarm present and at 27 of these incidents, the smoke alarm that was present raised the alarm.
“By far the biggest cause of fire was cooking (16 incidents). Alcohol was also a contributory factor at nine of these incidents.”
He added: “One of our priorities is target our Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) and fire safety education activities to those at risk from fire.
“Our HFSV programme is aimed at increasing the safety of our communities by preventing fires as well as improving the level of smoke detector ownership and maintenance which promotes early detection of fire and reduces the likelihood of occupiers suffering injury and limits any damage caused to property.
“We continue to work with partner agencies to identify those most vulnerable to the effects of fire in order that we can properly target our initiatives and HFSV’s.”
During the reporting period SFRS undertook a total of 832 HFSV’s in the Dundee area and are on track to achieve the annual target having already conducted 3,058 HFSV’s in the first three quarters of the financial year against a target of 2,727.
Tragically however SFRS encountered one fire fatality at a house fire in the Clement Park area of Dundee during November 2014.
Group Manager Tait commented: “This was a tragic incident and is the first fatality encountered within the Dundee area in well over two years.
“We continue to develop links with partner agencies with the aim of identifying persons considered vulnerable to the effects of fire in order that we can develop joint risk reduction strategies.
“Our Home Fire Safety Visit initiative and local strategy in conjunction with the development of closer partnership working arrangements has been instrumental in contributing to safer communities.”
He added: “Additionally a case study is conducted following every injury from fire in a dwelling. The purpose of the case study is to identify the circumstances surrounding the incident to enable the development of an action plan with the aim being to reduce or eliminate further risk based on the lessons learned.
“Where necessary our partner agencies contribute to these case studies to develop appropriate care packages aimed at reducing the risk of fire within our communities.”
Deliberate fires across the city were also down during the third quarter with 152 reported compared to 163 during the October – December period last year. The 2014 figure is also considerably less than the five year average figure of 189.
Non domestic fires were slightly up with 20 recorded compared to 17 during the October to December period the previous year. However, the figure was still down on the five year average of 23.
False alarm calls were also down with 558 reported compared to the five year average figure of 597.
Protecting vulnerable people from the devastating effects of fire is at the heart of the service's community call to action. SFRS is urging people to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit for someone they believe may vulnerable or elderly, whether it be a friend or relative.
Anyone can arrange a free home fire safety visit by calling SFRS on the freephone number 0800 0731 999 or by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800. People can also fill out a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk or contact their local community fire station.