Fall in accidental house fires in Inverclyde

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Local Senior Officer for Inverclyde, David Proctor, presented his third quarter report to members of the Inverclyde scrutiny committee today.

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A local fire chief has welcomed a sharp fall in the number of accidental house fires in Inverclyde.

The drop comes as the number of Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) carried out by firefighters increased in the area.

Latest figures reveal a total of 22 accidental domestic fires were reported between October and December 2016 – down from 27 over the same period in 2015.

Meanwhile, the number of HFSV carried out rose to 531 – an increase of 20 on the previous year.

David Proctor, Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Inverclyde hailed the reduction but urged residents to remain vigilant as many of the incidents were linked to people losing concentration whilst cooking.

He said: “There is a clear link between fire-related casualties and accidental dwelling fires. That is why we make such a concerted effort in the provision of Home Fire Safety Visits to ensure everyone has adequate fire detection in place.

“The majority of the incidents resulted in slight injury or required a precautionary check-up at hospital.

“The positive impact of early warning provided by either standalone or linked smoke alarms is evident in terms of the reduction in the number of severe dwelling fires and the associated level of fire related injuries compared to a decade ago.

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

“That’s why we want to meet people in their homes to make sure they never step away from the cooker without first taking pots or pans off the heat and fully switching off the grill.

“It’s also important to think about where items like kitchen roll and towels are kept, so they are never placed close to the cooker.”

The findings came to light in a SFRS report presented before Inverclyde Council’s Local Police and Fire Scrutiny Sub Committee on Thursday, 16 February.

It also highlighted 89 deliberate fires involving derelict property, rubbish and open land.

These were reported to the service between October and December in 2016 – a rise from 68 over the same period in 2015.

A total of 16 such incidents occurred on, or around, Bonfire Night.

There was also an increase in the number of deliberate fires at private and business premises with 16 reported over the period, an increase of four on the previous year.

LSO Proctor continued: “Deliberate fires are dangerous, put lives at risk and are completely unacceptable. They waste time and money, and keep SFRS crews away from real emergencies.

“On the lead up to Bonfire Night, we worked in partnership with local community wardens and Police Scotland to deliver bonfire safety talks to all secondary schools and youth zones in the area.

“We will continue our work with Police Scotland to ensure any deliberate fire is fully investigated.

“In addition, we ask local residents and businesses to ensure that rubbish does not accumulate outside their property and that wheelie bins are stored in a safe and secure area until collection.

“Anyone with information on deliberate fires can contact Police Scotland on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Every hour of every day there’s a house fire somewhere in Scotland. You can help reduce the chances of this happening to you by booking a home fire safety visit completely FREE of charge.

You can do this by calling SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.