Firefighters fought hundreds of needless fires across East Ayrshire over summer months, latest figures reveal.
A total of 314 deliberate fires were reported to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service between April and June this year, affecting refuse, homes, derelict buildings and vehicles.
These incidents put unnecessary pressure on firefighters when genuine emergencies arose and could have placed lives at risk.
Group Manager Gibby Lamont presented the latest East Ayrshire Performance Report before members of the East Ayrshire Council on Tuesday, August 29.
He said: “Deliberate fires endanger lives and can cause significant damage to property and the environment.
“We take a zero tolerance approach to these incidents and work closely with our partners at Police Scotland in an effort to trace anyone involved in this unacceptable and criminal behaviour.
“Our firefighters work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages in order to keep our communities as safe as possible.
“Every deliberate fire has victims, costs - and consequences. Firesetting is an offence. Don’t accept it – report it.”
There was a slight increase in the number of people injured by fire – which rose from six to eight – with the vast majority suffering from smoke inhalation.
But there was a stark reduction in the number of accidental dwelling fires reported over the period, down from 46 to 21.
Firefighters are available to conduct FREE Home Fire Safety Visits (HFSV) to prevent accidental dwelling fires from occurring and to protect the public from being injured in such events.
A total of 310 such visits were carried out by firefighters in East Ayrshire over the reporting period, which resulted in 202 smoke detectors being fitted.
Group Manager Lamont added: “Whilst it’s pleasing to note an overall reduction in accidental domestic fires, it’s clear that distraction whilst cooking remains a key contributor to these incidents.
“That’s why it’s so important that people never leave the kitchen unattended when they are cooking.
“Anyone can be distracted and if that happens then it’s all too easy for a potentially serious fire to take hold.
“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.”
He added: “We are always particularly keen to support the most vulnerable members of our communities to live safely within the home so if you have an elderly relative, neighbour or friend who you think could benefit from a visit, then please ensure to get in contact.”
The SFRS advise the following tips for kitchen safety:
• Never leave your cooker, grill or oven on when you go out – even on a timer
• Never hang or dry clothing and towels near the cooker
• When deep frying only ever fill one third full
• Always switch appliances off before going to bed or leaving the house
To book a Home Fire Safety Visit call 0800 0731 999, text “FIRE” to 80800, visit your local fire station or check out our website /