Dundee's most senior fire officer delivers positive final report before retirement

Publish Date:

Accidental house fires in Dundee are lowest they've been for five years

LSO Dave Stapley

Local Senior Officer for Dundee, Angus, Perth and Kinross delivered his final report to the Dundee scrutiny committee last night before he retires from the service next month.

One of the most pleasing aspects of his second quarter report was the fact that there were fewer accidental house fires in the city than there have been during the same period for the last five years.

The Convener of the Policy and Resources Committee, Ken Guild, took the opportunity at last night’s meeting to pay tribute to LSO Stapley for his tremendous contribution to improving community safety in Dundee and the Tayside area.

Between July and September 2014/15 there were just 36 accidental house fires in Dundee, compared to 48 during the same period in 2013/14.

LSO Stapley said: “Clearly it is pleasing to see a continued reduction in the number of accidental house fires, but we will not be complacent and will continue to deliver our free Home Fire Safety Visits across the city.

“We want to visit as many homes as possible to ensure our communities are as safe as possible. The number of incidents (accidental house fires) is well below the five year average. Of these incidents 28 had a smoke alarm present and at 18 of these a smoke detector raised the alarm, which highlights the importance of having working smoke detection within the home.

“Our Home Fire Safety programme is aimed at increasing the safety of our communities by preventing fires as well as improving the level of smoke detector ownership and maintenance which promotes early detection of fire and reduces the likelihood of occupiers suffering injury and limits damage caused to property.”

He added: “We will continue to work with partner agencies to identify those most vulnerable to the effects of fire in order that we can properly target our initiatives and Home Fire Safety Visits.

“Local managers will continue to closely monitor the performance of all stations to ensure that individual targets for delivering Home Fire Safety Visits are achieved and to ensure fire safety advice and smoke detectors are available to all our communities.”

During the reporting period Scottish Fire and Rescue Service undertook a total of 1037 Home Fire Safety Visits, against a target of 909. The majority of these were carried out at premises which were identified to be of higher risk.

LSO Stapley added: “The majority of these visits have been conducted using a direct targeted approach using local knowledge and intelligence to target higher risk areas.

“Additionally visits have been conducted following self-referral and referral from a range of partner organisations, as well as being conducted following our attendance at incidents.

Fire casualty figures also remain low with 13 reported in the second quarter, the same figure as the July to September period in 2013/14. There were also no fatalities as a result of fire during the second quarter in Dundee.

The report, which was presented to the Policy and Resources Committee (Police, Fire and Community Safety) in Dundee last night, also highlighted a reduction in the number of incidents of deliberate fire setting, from 173 in 2013/14 to 167 in 2014/15.

LSO Stapley commented: “A number of initiatives have been undertaken to reduce these incidents and local managers have been working closely with Police Scotland and other partners to address this matter.

“Intelligence is shared regularly as part of the multi-agency tasking and co-ordinating meetings and also the fire related anti-social behaviour group where discussions have led to a number of actions being taken to address this issue.”

The only slight rise was in non-domestic property fires, which went from 13 in 2013/14 to 19 this year.