Deliberate fires reduced by 16 per cent in West Lothian

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Firefighters have been praised for their tireless work alongside partners to reduce the number of deliberate fires in West Lothian.

A total of 448 deliberate fires were reported to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service between April and September this year.

A large volume of these incidents involved rubbish, woodland areas, grassland and derelict buildings.

This is down from 537 during the same period in 2017 – a reduction of 16 per cent.

David Lockhart is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Falkirk and West Lothian.

He said: “Every deliberate fire has victims, costs and consequences and we therefore take a zero tolerance approach to this unacceptable behaviour.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners and our communities to prevent deliberate fires and educate people on the very clear dangers and consequences.”

SFRS crews in West Lothian also carried out more than 1,000 home fire safety visits (HFSV) during the six-month period this year, latest figures show.

Between April and September, 1,109 free visits were made to ensure families and residents were supported to reduce fire risks within their homes.

HFSVs are a cornerstone of the Service’s prevention efforts to support people to stay safe at home, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

Figures revealed during a meeting with West Lothian Council’s Services for Communitues, Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel this week also showed a reduction in the number of accidental house fires in the region.

A total of 76 such incidents were reported between April and September this year – down from of 82 on the same period in 2017.

LSO Lockhart 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.

“We want everyone to be safe in their homes and cannot stress enough the importance of having a working smoke alarm.

“If fire breaks out, a smoke or heat alarm will give you valuable early warning to react and reach a place of safety. And, if you are sleeping, a working alarm could be absolutely vital.”

West Lothian crews also attended 503 instances of unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) between April and September this year – down from 541 during the same period in 2017.

UFAS incidents occur when firefighters are called to an incident as a result of equipment failure, malicious false alarms, or false alarms with good intent.

LSO Lockhart said: “Ensuring that businesses and duty holders manage their fire alarm systems effectively can help us reduce the number of unwanted fire alarm signals.

“UFAS can result in lost revenue for businesses and can present a risk of staff becoming complacent.

“It’s hugely important that people are aware of the consequences of firefighters making unnecessary blue light journeys.”

ENDS

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