Local Senior Officer for Highland Scott Hay has welcomed a reduction in accidental house fires across the region.
LSO Hay presented his third quarter report to the Highland scrutiny committee today (25 March 2015) at the Town House in Inverness.
During the third quarter (October to December) in 2013 there were 50 house fire incidents reported to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Highland, compared to 32 for the same period in 2014. This is in line with the downward trend over the previous five years.
LSO Hay says that although he is pleased with the reduction there is no room for complacency and the service will continue to target those most at risk from fire in Highland communities.
He said: “We work closely with partner agencies and communities to reduce the number of accidental house fires through the delivery of targeted Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) and the installation of free smoke detectors.
“Supporting the targeted delivery, partner agencies routinely share information identifying residents that would most benefit from this free service. However, we do offer HFSV to all Highland residents because our clear goal is to reduce the risk of fire and harm to all householders and their property.”
SFRS staff within Highland delivered a total of 939 Home Fire Safety Visits during the third quarter, which represents a very high percentage (94%) of the service’s target for the period. These figures are broken down further into 413 high risk visits, 296 medium risk visits and 230 low risk.
Mr Hay said: “These figures confirm the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to making communities safer through reducing the risk from fire and other emergencies.
“The figures also indicate that we continue to target the most vulnerable in our communities therefore ensuring that the necessary fire safety advice and guidance is provided to those who most need it and ultimately across the entire Highland area thereby making people safer within their homes.”
There were no fire fatalities across Highland during the third quarter this year, which mirrors last year’s position during the same period.
LSO Hay said: “There was no one killed as a result of fire during this period. However, there have been three recent fire fatalities in the Highland area outwith this reporting period. This only goes to remind us that we cannot be complacent and we must continue to work closely with our partners in other public agencies and voluntary organisations to prevent people in our communities dying unnecessarily as a result of fire."
The number of fire casualties in Highland during the third quarter of the year also fell from 13 in 2013 to 7 in 2014.
LSO Hay added: “The Service recognises the number of house fires will have the greatest impact on the number of fire casualties and fatalities. Therefore we will continue to work hard and identify those households that would benefit most from the delivery of a Home Fire Safety Visit.”
There was a slight rise in deliberate fires during the third quarter from 28 in 2013 to 42 during the same period in 2014. However this is set against the downward trend over the previous five years.
LSO Hay said: “Deliberate fires include those as a result of fire related antisocial behaviour and wildfires. Analysis of the overall incidents and the periods in which they occur has identified seasonal variations, for example during muirburning and holiday periods.
“The Service has introduced a number of fire reduction strategies and thematic action plans, which target these types of incident.
“SFRS is working with partners to reduce these incidents overall. We promote fire reduction through the Safer Highland Antisocial Behaviour Group which supports a coordinated delivery of fire reduction activities, issue targeted wildfire prevention advice to the public in relation to wildfires and target key groups ahead of known peak activity periods.”
The third quarter also saw a reduction in false alarm calls, from 348 in 2013 down to 336 during the third quarter in 2014.
LSO Hay said: “The Service responds to a number of false alarms over the reporting period, a number of which are unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS). While we attended fewer UFAS during quarter three, we continue to work with duty holders to reduce the number of UFAS events. This quarter reduction is in line with the decreasing trend of the previous five reporting years.”
The SFRS has also introduced a new retained recruitment process for Scotland which speeds up recruitment from point of application through to attending a new trainee course at many of the Service’s training centres across Scotland.
LSO Hay said: “The current recruitment process has recently closed for this quarter and a number of applications have been received for stations in the Highland area. The Service will be advertising again very soon and would encourage members of the communities across Highland to apply and join the service and help protect the communities in which they live.
“If you know of anyone who may be interested in becoming a retained firefighter you can also get in touch with local fire and rescue staff. They will be happy to discuss the application process and the role in preparation for the re-opening of the RDS recruitment process.”
For more information about how you can join Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as a retained firefighter visit our website /work-with-us/join-us-as-a-retained-firefighter.aspx.