SFRS issues safety message

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Firefighters work with safety partners to help reduce risks and protect vulnerable members of the community.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is reminding communities that firefighters are available to support them to stay safe at home.

They will visit householders and give them advice on what to do in the event of an emergency and also check or install smoke detectors.

These Home Fire Safety Visits are FREE and the Fire Service is particularly looking to support the most vulnerable members of communities to stay safe at home.

The reminder was issued by Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Andy Coueslant following four tragic fire-related fatalities at Braemar in Aberdeenshire, Garrynamonie in South Uist, Lossiemouth in Moray and Kildonan in South Uist.

DACO Coueslant, who is responsible for protecting the North of Scotland, said: “A single fire-related death is one too many.

“But sadly four people have lost their lives as a result of recent house fires in South Uist, Lossiemouth and Braemar.

“The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are very firmly with their families, their friends and their communities at this very difficult time as well as our own personnel who were in attendance at each incident.”

He added: “We are absolutely committed to doing everything in our power to preventing further tragedies from occurring.

“We are particularly keen to support the most vulnerable members of our communities to stay safe at home.

“I would directly appeal to people to check if their elderly relatives, neighbours or friends are in need of this support and to contact us directly.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work hard alongside our partners to identify those who are most vulnerable from fire and ensure appropriate risk reduction measures are in place.”

Home fire safety visits (HFSVs) are free pre-arranged visits where SFRS staff identify signs to protect people and their homes.

They are a key pillar of prevention work that help safeguard members of the community – especially vulnerable residents but also families and the wider community.

SFRS staff can also identify hazards in the home, help plan escape routes and supply and install smoke detectors for free.

DACO Coueslant said: “Fires can develop at any time in the home but residents can take relatively straight forward steps to limit this risk such as testing smoke and heat alarms, closing doors at night and making an emergency escape plan.

“Our crews regularly visit homeowners to provide free Home Fire Safety Visits which help reduce the number of casualties through early detection and intervention – an instrumental approach in contributing to safer communities.”

More fires start in the kitchen than any other room in the house and safe cooking is a key prevention tactic.

Key safety steps include:

•         never leave cooking unattended
•         never prepare food after drinking alcohol
•         never throw water on oil-based fires
•         In the event of an emergency, and if it’s safe to do so, turn off the heat, close the doors and leave the building – then phone 999 and ask for the fire service.

Councillor Charlie Nicolson is the Chair of the Western Isles Community Safety partnership.

He said: “I would encourage the public to take up the opportunity of having one of these free Home Fire Safety Visits to ensure that their homes are safe and to help prevent tragic incidents like this taking place again.”

For further information on arranging a free HSFV for you or a loved one then please go to our website

Alternatively you can call 0800 0731 999 or text "FIRE" to 80800 from your mobile phone.