Firefighters responded to more than 500 accidental house fires across Scotland during last year’s festive season.
Latest figures reveal that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to a total of 517 such incidents between December 7 and January 11.
This is a stark increase from the 230 accidental house fires over the same period the previous year.
Accidental house fires can be caused by an increased use of heating and electrical appliances - as well as higher alcohol consumption during the holiday season.
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown is the SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection.
He spoke out ahead of this Winter’s awareness campaign to urge families to stay safe over this festive period.
ACO McGown said: “This winter SFRS will work closely with local communities and partner agencies to keep Scotland safe from fire and other emergencies - but as always, we need the public’s help to reduce the amount of preventable fires we might see in the coming months.
“I would directly appeal to people to check if their elderly relatives, neighbours or friends are in need of our support and to contact us directly.
“Home fire safety visits are a key pillar of our prevention work that help safeguard the public – especially vulnerable residents but also families and the wider community.
“These are free pre-arranged visits where SFRS staff identify signs to protect people and their homes.
“SFRS staff can also identify hazards in the home, help plan escape routes and supply and install smoke detectors for free – a vital tool for every home.”
The senior officer also appealed to people to take care on the roads as the colder weather can also see firefighters attend more traffic collisions due to treacherous driving conditions during ice and flooding.
He said: "Every year across Scotland, there is a rise in emergency calls to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service due to winter weather.
“We urge the public to take action now and be prepared for whatever hazards might come in the next few months.
“Winter weather also brings unexpected and dangerous conditions to our roads. It’s important to ensure that your vehicle is serviced, well maintained and that drivers take the necessary precautions when driving in bad weather.’’
If you or someone you know is vulnerable or may be at risk from fire please get in touch and arrange a FREE home fire safety visit with local firefighters by calling 0800 0731 999.
For more advice on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire during winter visit: www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter