Pact to cut deaths and injuries in Renfrewshire

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Bid aims to reach vulnerable members of the community and prevent fire-related tragedy.

Renfrewshire fire pact 

Firefighters are to work with Renfrewshire Council workers in a partnership aimed at cutting the number of people with drink and drug problems who die in fires.

The new agreement sees Renfrewshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) service users referred to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, whose crews arrange home visits to assess risks to the person, give them safety advice and fit free smoke alarms where necessary.

Area Manager Paul Tanzilli is Renfrewshire’s senior fire officer and signed the pact on behalf of his service. He said: “When you look at the statistics a clear picture starts to appear: The people who are most at risk of dying in a fire are older people who live on their own.

“The risk of a fatal fire increases if a person smokes and it rises even more if a person drinks alcohol. Poverty also plays a part with people in the poorest areas being more likely to die in a house fire than people who live in better off areas.

“Drugs and mental health problems are other factors which contribute to Scotland having a consistently higher rate of fire deaths than the rest of the UK.

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is committed to working with our community partners in any way to improve fire safety and reduce the risk of injury to people at home. Our aim is to support people in the community who are at greatest risk and our work with Renfrewshire ADP will allow my officers to do just that – helping to prevent fires from occurring.”

“This agreement will mean that the service users to the Fire & Rescue service, and we will then visit people in their homes to conduct a fire risk assessment, provide them with safety advice, and fit free smoke alarms where they are required.

“I would also like to remind residents that our Home Fire Safety visits are available free to any members of the public and can be arranged by calling 0800 0731 999, texting “check” to 61611, or at www.firescotland.gov.uk.”

Between April 2009 and March 2012, 168 Scots died in fires in their homes.  Alcohol played a part in almost two-thirds of these fatal fires, while cigarettes were involved in nearly 40 per cent of them. Cookers, toasters and chip pans accounted for almost another 28 per cent of fire deaths.

Chair of the Renfrewshire ADP Peter Macleod, who is also the council’s director of Social Work, also signed the agreement. He said: “The ADP has a key role in supporting people who are affected by alcohol and drugs.

“We know all too well that these service users have a higher risk of an accidental fire at home. We will continue to work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to support people who are affected by alcohol and drugs, both in their recovery and by putting safety measures in place to reduce the risk of fire related harm.”

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