Firefighters carry out almost 1000 home fire safety visits across West Lothian

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The figures were presented to local councillors at the West Lothian Council Community Police and Development Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, December 12.

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The number of accidental house fires has risen in West Lothian - but firefighters continue to visit vulnerable residents.

The crews checked out almost 1000 of properties over the course of the last six months and provided valuable safety advice.

Home Safety Visits are a cornerstone of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s effort to support people to stay safe at home, particularly the most elderly and the vulnerable.

The figure was revealed as it also emerged how the number of accidental house fires has risen to 78 in 2017/18 - compared to 52 in 2016/17.

But there is a marked decrease from the previous quarter and a continued downward trajectory which firefighters continue to work hard to maintain.

The data for April to September 2017 was outlined in the latest performance report to local councillors at the West Lothian Council Community Police and Development Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, December 12.

Local Senior Officer David Lockhart said the SFRS remained committed to reducing the number of incidents even further.

He said: “Between April and September this year, firefighters carried out 954 of Home Fire Safety Visits to help identify hazards as well as supply and install smoke detectors free of charge.

“We’re here to help everyone stay safe but we’re particularly keen to support the most vulnerable and elderly within our communities.

“That’s why we appeal to everyone to check if their elderly relatives, friends or neighbours are in need of this vital support – and to contact us directly.”

The report also revealed an increase of 26 per cent in the last six months of deliberate fires.

A total of 487 incidents were recorded by the emergency service between April and September – an increase of 101 over the same period in 2016.

Most of the fires involved rubbish, wooded areas and grassland.

LSO Lockhart said: “Across West Lothian we continue to work very hard to raise awareness and educate on the potentially devastating consequences of deliberate fire raising.

“Positive engagement with local communities, particularly with young people, remains our most effective weapon in combatting this unacceptable behavior.

“Preventing these incidents from occurring in the first place is our main aim and as such we continue to engage with local schools and youth groups to highlight the risks.

“We take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who deliberately sets fire and are committed to working closely with our partners, including Police Scotland, to help ensure those involved in this criminal activity are quickly identified and action taken.”

To arrange a free Home Fire Safety visit contact SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form atwww.firescotland.gov.uk.

Responses to, and attendance at Unwanted Fire Alarms Signals (UFAS) during 2017/18 has seen an eight per cent reduction compared to the 2016/17 figures.

LSO Lockhart said: “Whilst the number of UFAS reported during 2017/18 has fallen, we recognise that more needs to be done to reduce the burden that responding to these calls can have on our resources.

“Through partnership working we are starting to see a reduction in the number of unwanted calls.”

 

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