Everyone can keep South Lanarkshire safe this Christmas

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SFRS local senior officer calls on public to take simple steps to reduce the risk of fire tragedies.

Appliances daytime at station

Firefighters across South Lanarkshire want the public’s to help prevent tragedy striking this Christmas.

With the festive season underway and people preparing to celebrate the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is reminding everyone of the steps they can take to protect their homes from fire.

Area Manager Alan Fairbairn, the local senior officer, said: “There are increased risks at Christmas and unfortunately that means house fires typically go up at this time of year.

“Wherever and whenever emergencies happen our firefighters do everything they can to save lives and avoid the loss of property. The sad fact is there are times when all their bravery, skill and determination can’t prevent tragedy.

“By taking the simple steps needed to drive down risks everyone can help protect the area and ensure this Christmas is remembered for the right reasons.”

SFRS has compiled some simple measures the public can take to keep themselves safe from fire throughout the festive season.

The advice is to check Christmas lights have plugs fitted with the correct fuse, never overload extension leads and make sure all electrical devices are Intertek BEAB approved.

Christmas lights should always be switched off at night and when no-one will be home, while decorations and cards should be placed away from lights or other sources of heat.

Area Manager Fairbairn added: “More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room.  It only takes a moment for fire to start and it’s easy for anyone to become distracted.

“We need people to understand that the risks associated with cooking become all the greater when someone is under the influence of alcohol.

“Drinking and cooking is a deadly mix. It is an incredibly common cause of house fires and fire-related injuries. We want people to choose not to cook if they are under the influence, but anyone who does must take extreme care.

“The most common cause of fire deaths is smoking and again, the risk increases when people have consumed alcohol.

“No-one should smoke while they’re in bed and anyone who has been drinking or who feels tired should avoid smoking when in a chair, as they could easily nod off and start a devastating fire.”

Firefighters want residents to consider their own safety and the safety of those close to them, with people urged to check if older family members, neighbours and friends have working smoke alarms.

With the area’s crews routinely conducting free home fire safety visits, the service wants to hear from anyone who thinks they could benefit from firefighters’ advice.

Area Manager Fairbairn continued: “Most people do think of friends, relatives and neighbours a bit more at Christmas than we do at other times.

“We want people to consider if someone they know might be vulnerable to fire. It only takes a couple of minutes to check their smoke alarms are working properly and that small action could save their life.

“Anyone who thinks someone close to them could benefit from our help and support should put them in touch with us.”

To join Scotland’s fight against fire and register for a free home fire safety visit call the freephone SFRS number 0800 0731 999, text ‘check’ to 61611 or fill out a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.