Fife has revealed a significant fall in the number of accidental dwelling fires in the area.
Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Fife, Iain Vincent, presented the latest Performance Report to members of the Fife Council Safer Communities Committee yesterday (Thursday, 24 November).
The newly released figures, show there was a 10 per cent reduction, based on the previous three year average, in accidental house fires in Fife between April and September this year.
3144 Home Fire Safety Visits were delivered across Fife from April to September 2016 – 26 per cent above target.
SFRS works closely with partner agencies and communities to reduce the number of house fires through the delivery of targeted visits. As part of these visits fire safety advice is given on a number of home fire safety risk areas; for example leaving cooking unattended, a fire escape plan and testing and maintaining smoke detectors.
LSO Vincent said: “Partnership working and the delivery of Home Fire Safety Visits are both crucial in helping to reduce the number of accidental dwelling fires.
"We continue to work directly with our partners to ensure those who are most at risk or vulnerable from fire or harm in the home are identified and that appropriate risk reduction measures are put in place. These targeted approaches will continue to develop and improve as we move forward.
“Crews regularly visit houses and provide free Home Fire Safety Visits which helps to reduce the number of casualties through early detection and intervention. That is instrumental in contributing to safer communities.”
To register for a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit call the SFRS Freephone number: 0800 0731 999, or visit the website at www.firescotland.gov.uk
There was positive news on the subject of deliberate fires too, where figures show a continued reduction from the previous year.
Firefighters, along with our partners, work hard to build relationships with the young people within the community and give advice on how to avoid getting involved in willful fire raising and hoax calls.
LSO Vincent said: “It is pleasing to note that deliberate fires are still falling. We will continue to advise and educate the impact on our communities of fire-related anti-social behaviour.”
“This is a result of the excellent partnership work undertaken within the ward areas of Fife. Local managers have been working closely with partner agencies to identify those responsible in order to reduce incidents of this type. Where young people are identified as having committed these acts they are referred to our prevention team and where appropriate, part of our ‘DiversiFIRE’ intervention programme.”
He added: “A number of initiatives have been undertaken to reduce these incidents such as school visitations, community clean-up activities, engaging with youth groups and business premises.
“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.”
SFRS attendance at road traffic collisions in the Fife area saw an increase of 91 compared to the 72 in the same period last year. Just over half of these involved limited action from our crews including making the vehicles safe.
LSO Vincent said: “The rise is attributed to a change in the way SFRS are mobilised to these incidents. We will continue our contribution towards improving road safety through education in a bid to reduce these types of incidents. We remain a key partner in events, which aim to improve driver behaviour and enhance the safety of young people and road users respectively.”
Overall, non-fire related incidents (including road traffic collisions, flooding and medical assistance) attributed to 25 per cent of all call outs in Fife over this quarter.
LSO Vincent believes this figure underlines the importance of effective partnership working.
He said: “Our firefighters are now attending a higher number of incidents where they are providing support to the Scottish Ambulance Service or Police Scotland.
“This type of service will continue to be supported by SFRS crews in the future as we continue to develop cross emergency service support to ensure we safeguard or communities’ wellbeing.”
Responses to, and attendance at Unwanted Fire Alarms Signals (UFAS) remain at a high level as a proportion of the incidents we attend. We have noted this and continue to engage and work with local partners to reduce activity in this area.
Chair of Fife Council's Safer Communities Committee Cllr Margaret Kennedy welcomed the report saying: "This is a very positive update on the sterling work carried out by our fire service colleagues.
"Reducing the number of people killed as a result of fire has to be our top priority and the exemplary partnership prevention work ongoing in our communities is making a real difference in many areas."