No complacency from senior fire officer for Orkney despite low house fire numbers

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Local Senior Officer Billy Wilson told the local scrutiny committee that house fire risk is low on Orkney islands

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The senior fire officer for Orkney has said that the risk of a house fire remains low in light of figures for July to September 2013, released to the island’s Fire & Rescue Scrutiny Committee recently.

Firefighters responded to just one accidental house fire on the islands during the second quarter of the year, compared to four during the same period last year.

SFRS Local Senior Officer for Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles, Billy Wilson, said: “The figures demonstrate that the communities of the Orkney Islands are, and continue to be, at a low risk of house fires.

“That said we are never complacent and we continue our pro-active approach to fire safety education within schools on the islands and continue to offer free Home Fire Safety Visits to members of the public.

“Prevention is always the best option. Crews from your community fire station would much rather visit and give some friendly tips when it’s convenient for you, than have to attend a potentially life-threatening fire that could have been prevented.”

The service conducted 171 Home Fire Safety Visits by the end of the second quarter, just slightly below a target of 186.

The number of secondary fires decreased during the second quarter to five, compared to eight during the same period last year. Despite a slight increase in primary fires during the second quarter, five this year, compared to three last year, the number of primary fires remains low.

The popular road safety initiative Driving Ambition was delivered to S5 and S6 pupils on 16 and 17 October in Kirkwall and Stromness. The programme provides young drivers with information on a variety of road safety elements; the main aim being to encourage them to be safe and responsible learners, drivers and passengers.

LSO Wilson said: “The informative and interactive roadshow involves inputs from a number of key agencies including SFRS, Orkney Islands Council, Police Scotland, NHS Orkney, Orkney Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, Scottish Ambulance Service and local driving instructors.

“We explain our role at the scene of a road traffic collision, the equipment we use and provide advice on what others who arrive at the scene can do to assist.

Firefighters also gave inputs at another excellent education event which takes place on the island, Safe Islanders.

Mr Wilson said: “Safe Islanders is a fantastic multi-agency event which tackles challenging issues of community safety and crime prevention.

“Our staff provided an interactive presentation to pupils about fire safety within the home and what to do in an emergency situation.”