Drop in accidental dwelling fires in the Borders area

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Local Senior Officer David Farries presented the latest performance report to the Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board

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The number of accidental dwelling fires across the Scottish Borders has fallen by 19 per cent, latest figures show.

There was a total of 69 incidents recorded across the region between April and December 2016 – a reduction from 85 last year. 

The Local Senior Officer for the Scottish Borders, David Farries presented the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) performance report to the Police, Fire and Rescue and Safer Communities Board on Friday, 10 February.

The Local Fire Chief said: “I am delighted with this figure as it is clear that we are working together to keep our communities safe.

“However we’re never complacent and prevention work remains a key priority to stop fires happening in the first place.”

Local crews have carried out a total of 792 free home fire safety visits over the three month period.

They installed smoke detectors and shared advice with residents to help them recognise risks and make it less likely a fire will happen in their home.

LSO Farries said: “Having adequate fire detection such as smoke alarms is crucial because householders can’t afford to ignore the risks.

“The fact no-one in the area was killed or seriously hurt demonstrates the importance of engaging directly with our communities to reduce the impact of fires within the home.”

Cooking continues to be the most common cause with 60 per cent of accidental house fires taking place in the kitchen.

LSO Farries said: “Anyone can get distracted and if that happens in the kitchen then it’s all too easy for a potentially serious fire to break out.

“We want to stop that from happening which is why we urge everyone to sign up for a free home fire safety visit.

“In particular we are keen to protect the most vulnerable in our communities to live safely at home.

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

Meanwhile, the number of deliberate fires across the Scottish Borders saw a decrease of 43 per cent from the previous three months.
There were 76 deliberate fires between April and December with 75 per cent of them due to woodland, grass or refuse.

A reduction from 89 over the same three months the previous year.

The Scottish Borders continues to be well below the Scottish average for this type of incident.

LSO Farries said: “It is pleasing to note that deliberate fires are still falling – but we can’t be complacent.

“We will continue to raise awareness within our communities of fire-related anti-social behavior. 

“We will do this through a number of initiatives including school visitations, community clean-up activities and engaging with youth groups.”

SFRS attendance at road traffic collisions in the Scottish Borders saw a slight reduction of three compared to the same period last year.  Nearly half of these involved were making the vehicles safe.

LSO Farries said: “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.”