A fire chief has called on communities to assist firefighters after tragedies claimed the lives of three people.
A man was killed in a fire at Bo’ness in Falkirk on Tuesday night. It followed weekend fire tragedies in the Highlands, where a woman lost her life in Ullapool on Saturday and a man died in Golspie on Sunday.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officers worked with police to establish the circumstances surrounding the separate incidents.
In the wake of the deaths the service issued a powerful call to action to protect older people and others who could be vulnerable.
Assistant Chief Officer Robert Scott, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: “The loss of life through fire in the home is utterly devastating and everyone’s thoughts will be with the families and friends at this terrible time.
“Each of these tragedies will strike very deep at the heart of the communities and they have to resonate across Scotland – we all need to act now to protect people who could be vulnerable.”
In the last five years three-quarters of preventable fire deaths in Scotland were people aged 50 years or over.
Living alone, having limited mobility, long term medical conditions, dementia and other cognitive impairments, limited sight or hearing and taking some types of medication can all increase someone’s risk.
While age is a factor known to make people vulnerable to fire, the service is clear it can act to reduce the risk of tragedy happening if it can reach those who need its help.
Assistant Chief Officer Scott continued: “Firefighters see too many incidents where someone has been killed or seriously injured in a fire that need never have happened.
“If we can reach those who need our support then there are things we can do to help them stay safe – simple steps that will make fires less likely to start and slower to spread.
“Our crews throughout Scotland fit smoke alarms free of charge where they’re required, make sure everyone in the home knows what to do in an emergency and can get someone assistance from partners like health or housing if it’s needed.
“It all depends on reaching someone before a fire happens and for that we need the public to act.
“Many of us look out for a friend, neighbor or relative who could use a bit of help.
“If you know of anyone who might benefit from some professional advice and support from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service please help to put us in touch with them. It may just save a life.”
Free home fire safety visits are available by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or via the SFRS website www.firescotland.gov.uk.
Conducted by local crews and taking around 20 minutes to complete, the visits give firefighters the chance to highlight and address common risks many people do not realise exist within the home.