Partnership working to protect Perth and Kinross

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Local senior officer says reducing the number of accidental house fires is a key focus for the area's SFRS team.

Firefighters throughout Perth and Kinross will continue to offer potentially life-saving advice and support to residents in a drive to prevent house fires, address wider home safety issues and the tragedies that follow in their wake.

Area Manager Colin Grieve, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) local senior officer, made the commitment as he presented his quarterly performance report to elected members of the council’s Community Safety Committee on Wednesday (19 August).

He said: “Reducing the number of accidental house fires remains a key focus for our team here in Perth and Kinross – just as it does for our colleagues throughout the country.

“There were 29 of these incidents in our area between April and June, which shows fire is something we all need to consider and act to prevent.

“After every incident our crews offer free home fire safety visits but we want people to contact us before there’s an emergency, so we can help them take the steps that make fire much less likely to strike.”

The free home fire safety visit service has proven hugely popular with residents and is a key part of the Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire campaign.

In order to reach as many people as possible, the SFRS team has been joined in its work by a number of partner agencies; each of which shares the goal of protecting the community to not only look at the risk of fire but also other home safety related issues.

Area Manager Grieve explained: “We work closely with Perth & Kinross Council’s Safer Communities Wardens and members of the Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Service to take home safety information to people throughout our communities.

“This partnership is hugely beneficial and the team has been extended in recent months, with police officers and the Perth & Kinross Council Community Alarms Team adding their knowledge and experience to the initiative.

"We have worked together to deliver joint Home Safety Visits to cover a wider range of risks in the home.

"These include a basic falls assessment, fire, electrical and gas safety, financial harm awareness and home security information, all of which is intended to support healthy independent living and keep people safe within their homes.

“Our visits are targeted to people who have been identified as potentially being at increased risk of unintentional injury in the home, but we need the public’s help.”

He continued: “We want everyone to consider home safety and if they, or someone they know could benefit from some support, to contact us.

“A free home safety visit can be arranged for a time that suits the householder – it’s a great service that makes people aware of hazards and helps them take very simple steps to prevent fires and reduce other risks within the home.

“The visits give people a lot of reassurance and confidence. We’ll even install free smoke alarms where these are found to be needed.”

Cooking was the most frequent cause of fires in the area’s homes during the three months to the end of June.

The advice for the public is never to step away from the cooker without first removing pots and pans from the heat and turning off the hob and grill.

Working smoke alarms are crucial devices for every home and firefighters know that no-one can ever afford to go without them.

People are also encouraged to consider fitting heat alarms in the kitchen as the devices provide early warning of fire prior to smoke alarms activating due to the small amounts of smoke produced as a result of cooking.

Free home safety visits are available from SFRS by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in an online form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.

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