Highland's senior fire officer delivers positive second quarter report

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Local Senior Officer Scott Hay presented his report to councillors at the Communities and Partnerships Committee in Inverness yesterday

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Highland’s most senior fire officer yesterday (10 December 2015) presented a hugely encouraging second quarter report to members of the region’s scrutiny committee.

Local Senior Officer for Highland, Scott Hay, presented his report to councillors at the Communities and Partnerships Committee at Highland Council HQ in Inverness.

The report highlighted a reduction in accidental house fires during the second quarter of the year (between April and the end of September) from 70 in 2014/15 to 55 in 2015/16.

LSO Scott Hay said: “The Service works closely with partner agencies and communities to reduce the number of accidental dwelling house fires through the delivery of targeted home fire safety visits and the installation of free smoke detectors. Supporting the targeted delivery, partner agencies routinely share data identifying residents that would benefit from this free service, aiming to reduce the risk of fire and harm to householders and their property.

“SFRS staff are also working very closely with other agency staff in the delivery of alcohol brief interventions (ABI) and falls prevention advice. Both activities allow a wider delivery of essential risk identification and safety information for those most vulnerable in our communities. SFRS staff will then routinely refer those in need to the correct agencies for assistance and support.”

The second quarter figures for 2015/16 also showed there were no fatal house fires in Highland, compared to one during the second quarter in 2014/15.

LSO Hay said: “The service is committed to maintaining this figure and eliminate all events and occurrences that result in a fatality. As identified, partnership working and data sharing supports this key aim and the delivery of targeted life safety advice and information.

“We will continue to deliver free home fire safety visits (HFSV) to advise and inform residents in the dangers of fire in the home. We will also continue to work with partner agencies through a range of initiatives, e.g. Healthy Homes for Highland (HHH), alcohol brief interventions (ABI) which includes the installation of free smoke detectors, provision of life safety information and advice as well as supporting the referral to other key partner agencies for advice and assistance.”

Deliberate fires were also down from 97 during the second quarter of 2014/15 to 73 for the same period this year.

Mr Hay commented: “The Service is working with partner agencies to reduce these incidents overall. Examples of which include the promotion of fire reduction through the Safer Highland antisocial behaviour (ASB) Group and the Inverness Response team where early intervention from partner agencies addresses occurrences right at the point of reporting.

“We also continue to promote best practice and partnership working through the Scottish Wildfire Forum (SWF) and targeting key groups ahead of known peak wildfire and muirburning periods.”

There were also fewer false alarm calls with unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) down from 483 during the second quarter in 2014/15 to 447 for the same period this year.

LSO Hay said: “We continue to work closely with duty holders to reduce the number of UFAS events. In addressing the number of UFAS incidents across Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) introduced a national UFAS Reduction Procedure on 1 December 2014. The key aim of this procedure is the implementation of a standard management model to reduce the number of unwanted alarm signals across all areas of Scotland.”

He added: “This will be achieved in a number of ways. By working more closely with responsible ‘duty holders’ post UFAS events to review, and where appropriate, improve management arrangements within premises and effectively managing an appropriate response to repeat UFAS calls from known premises.”