Midlothian performance report shows a reduction in deliberate fires

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Local Senior Officer David Farries presented the report to the Midlothian Scrutiny Committee

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Local Senior Officer David Farries reveals positive figures in Performance Report to the Midlothian Scrutiny Committee at Midlothian Council today (24 May).

The number of deliberate fires across Midlothian has gone down.
There were 44 between 1 January and 31 March 2016 compared to the same period in 2015 when there were 53 deliberate fires.

Firefighters, along with our partners, work hard to build relationships with the youths within the community and give advice on how to avoid getting involved in wilful fire raising and hoax calls.

Local Senior Officer for Midlothian, David Farries, said: “The trend indicates a positive reduction over the past five years and we will continue to highlight the impact on our communities of fire-related anti-social behaviour.”

“As a result of the excellent partnership work undertaken we are fortunate to have a low number of deliberate fires. We will continue to work with our partner agencies and with groups within the community to help maintain and improve the reduction in deliberate fires.

“I am delighted with this figure as it shows positive evidence that key safety messages are getting across to the public.
“It also shows the benefits of partnership working to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. It is all about getting the message out there through direct engagement with the public – and we will continue to do so.”

There was a slight increase in unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) over the reporting period, at 58 compared to last year when the figure was 53.

LSO Farries said: “False alarms continue to make up 50% of all calls. We continue to work closely with duty holders and, where appropriate, improving management arrangements within premises to reduce the number of UFAS events.”

There were no fire-related fatalities between January and March 2016.
Crews tended to 10 fire-related casualties which is a reduction of 10 on 2014 figure. The casualties who were rescued because of fire received first aid at the scene and did not attend hospital.  Smoke detectors were fitted within all the properties.
The LSO said: “There is a clear link between fire-related casualties and accidental dwelling fires and that is why we make such a concerted effort in the provision of the Free Home Fire Safety Visits – to reduce the impact of fire within the home and the potential for injury. The figures over the last five years have been relatively static in terms of accidental dwelling fires however the fact that all these fires in the last quarter have occurred in homes protected by smoke detection has ensured that they have been discovered early. The most important aspect is that less people are becoming casualties of fires in Midlothian.”
SFRS continues to improve its performance with 227 home safety visits delivered this quarter, 72 of these were classed as high risk. As part of these visits fire safety advice is given on a number of home fire safety risk areas; for example leaving cooking unattended, a fire escape plan and testing and maintain smoke detectors.

LSO Farries said: “Partnership working and the delivery of Home Fire Safety Visits are both crucial in helping to reduce the number of accidental dwelling fires.

"We continue to develop our partnerships to ensure those who are most at risk or vulnerable from fire or harm in the home are identified and that appropriate risk reduction measures are put in place.  These targeted approaches will continue to develop and improve as we move forward.”

Crews regularly visit houses and provide free Home Fire Safety Visits which helps to reduce the number of casualties and fatalities through early intervention which is instrumental in contributing to safer communities.  This partnership approach will contribute to the reduction of the number of casualties particularly from unintentional harm in the home.

The Midlothian area saw a slight increase in SFRS attendance at both road traffic collisions and special service calls in general, this was attributed to a change in the way SFRS are mobilised to such incidents.

LSO Farries said: “This rise cannot readily be compared to the statistics from previous years as they do not provide a like for like comparison, the increase reflects some areas of new work which SFRS has become involved in including co-response and first response to certain medical emergencies. This can certainly be viewed as adding value to the communities in Midlothian and therefore must be a good thing.”

To register for a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit call the SFRS Freephone number: 0800 0731 999, or visit the website at

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