Dedicated Orkney firefighters visit more than 90 island homes

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LSO Fraser Burr

Firefighters have visited more than 90 Orkney residents since June to ensure they are living safely within their homes.

Dedicated crews carried out a total of 95 Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) where they checked or installed smoke detectors and provided advice on what to do in the event of an emergency.

The vast majority of the visits were carried out in the homes of some of the area’s most vulnerable residents.

And the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is now appealing for more residents to help carry out this work by becoming a retained duty system firefighter.

The positive figures were revealed in a report to Orkney Island Council on Tuesday, October 31 by Local Senior Officer Fraser Burr and included stats showing that there have been no casualties as a result of fire for almost three years.

LSO Burr said: “While we continue to see minimal dwelling house fires and thankfully few casualties, we will continue to actively encourage residents to have a free Home Fire Safety Visits to further reduce the potential for fire within the home.”

Firefighters installed 37 smoke detectors during the 95 visits. LSO Burr added: “Smoke detectors can and do save lives by alerting people to the presence of smoke and flames at an early stage, giving them vital time to get to a place of safety and call the emergency services.”

Speaking after the meeting, LSO Burr repeated his call for members of the public to become Retained Duty System (RDS) firefighters.

A new campaign highlighting the need for RDS firefighters and the new recruits course has also been ongoing.

Additionally, the SFRS hosted its second initial recruits course in Kirkwall as it is takes steps to encourage recruitment of RDS firefighters for a number of Orkney stations - including St Margaret’s Hope, Hoy, Kirkwall and Rousay.

LSO Burr said: “The response to a robust local recruitment drive has been most positive however there have been challenges, particularly in relation to the Island of Hoy.

"We are now looking towards future solutions that are more responsive and more flexible to the needs of our rural communities while maintaining community and firefighter safety.

“But, until then, we will continue to work closely with community groups and community councils to encourage members of the community to come forward.

“Those who become retained firefighters are given a fantastic opportunity to broaden their horizons by learning new skills and working as part of a team.”

Anyone interested in becoming an RDS Firefighter can visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/work-with-us to view the role requirements and see how they can formally apply for a post on the myjobscotland website.

Anyone seeking to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit can contact SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk

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