Aberdeenshire's Prevention & Protection officer urging public to help create #FireFreeShire

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Communities in Aberdeenshire being encouraged to sign up for a free Home Fire Safety Visit

Firefighters demo

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention and Protection officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, Paul Geddes, is encouraging the public to help the service create a #FireFreeShire.

The latest phase of ‘Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire’ campaign went live last week and focuses on Home Fire Safety Visits and the benefits of working smoke alarms.

Initial findings from the first phase of the campaign reveal a substantial reduction in bonfires and although a range of factors come together to influence operational demand, recent reductions in incident activity are set against an ever increasing preventative role for fire-fighters.

Although it takes time for the full figures to become available, it is clear Scotland has seen a significant reduction from the number of incidents experienced in previous years and our innovative public safety campaign Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire has contributed fully in this regard.

Across Aberdeenshire the Fire and Rescue Service continues its efforts to reduce incidents of accidental fires in the home.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging Twitter users in Aberdeenshire to spread the message and people are encouraged to use the hashtag #FireFreeShire when posting messages with links to the SFRS webpage /your-safety/for-householders/home-fire-safety-visit.aspx

Prevention and Protection Officer for Aberdeenshire, Paul Geddes, said: “The real problem we encounter when trying to raise awareness of fire safety is people believe that the travesty they see and read about in the news happens to other people.

“From 1 April to 30 September 2013 fire crews in Aberdeenshire and Moray attended 104 accidental house fires and although we’re making good progress and raising awareness we need the help from the community.”

He added: “Many of these incidents were small fires involving cooking, however unfortunately a number of serious incidents had devastating consequences with serious damage, injury and loss of life.

“Local fire-fighters are appealing to the wider community to consider fire safety in their homes. Cooking, alcohol consumption and careless disposal of smoking materials are all common features in the cause of accidental fires in the home.

“As the colder weather settles into the North East there will be an increase of people using open fires and a variety of portable heaters to keep their homes warm. Please take care, use fire guards and take simple precautions to ensure there is no risk of furniture or clothing being too close.”

Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, David Rout said: "Although I’ve been a firefighter for a number of years it doesn’t lessen the impact when we are faced with a fire fatality or someone who has been seriously injured in a fire, let alone the devastation fire can do to people’s homes”.

“It is absolutely crucial that we do as much as we can to prevent tragedies like this happening in the first place.”

He added: “We all know older people who are at risk – it could be a grandmother, aunt, friend or neighbour. Today I am asking our communities here in Moray to think about these people.

“If you, or someone you know, may be at risk from fire, call us now. Home Fire Safety Visits are a proven method of engaging with people at risk from fire and provide appropriate fire safety information and advice.”

SFRS is asking people to consider their families and neighbours, who may be at risk and reminding them that they be the only person who can help a vulnerable member of the community.

Mr Geddes said: “Share with them the support available from your local Fire and Rescue Service.

“Our approach remains to offer free Home Fire Safety Visits and we can provide and install free smoke alarms during the visit. If you or someone you know may benefit from a Home Fire Safety Visit, you can arrange this by visiting our website at www.firescotland.gov.uk or by calling 0800 0731 999 or text "Check" to 61611 from your mobile phone.”