Accidental dwelling fires continue to fall in Dumfries and Galloway

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LSO Hamish McGhie presented his latest report to the Police and Fire Sub Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 28.

Accidental dwelling fires in Dumfries and Galloway continue to fall – the second lowest recorded over the last 5 years.

A total of 40 incidents have been reported in the 2017/18 period – down from six on the same period last year.

Almost a quarter of incidents were caused by people becoming distracted while cooking.
The findings were highlighted in a report brought before the Police and Fire Sub Committee meeting on Tuesday, November 28.

Hamish McGhie, Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Dumfries and Galloway, welcomed the fall but said the SFRS was not complacent and remained committed to reducing the number of incidents even further.

He said: “It is pleasing to see the decline of accidental dwelling fires and other incidents but we continue to look at the intelligence and it is clear these are most commonly linked to cooking.
“One of the ways we do this is through our free home safety visits where crews and our partners engage with the most vulnerable in our communities to ensure we provide the most appropriate support to reduce the risk of unintentional harm in the home.

“Partnership Prevention work is key to saving lives and protecting properties so we will continue to engage with communities, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, to ensure risk is reduced and people can live safely.

“We’re here to help everyone stay safe but we’re particularly keen to support the most vulnerable and elderly within our communities.

“That’s why we appeal to everyone to check if their elderly relatives, friends or neighbours are in need of this vital support – and to contact us directly.”

There was also one fire-related casualty and four fatalities within the first six months of the year.

LSO McGhie finished: “Any death is one too many and preventing fatalities or serious injury is extremely important for us.

“When such tragedies occur we will work closely with our emergency service colleagues and provide them with any assistance that we can.”

The report also notes that the number of road traffic collisions has dropped from 55 in the last 6 months of 2016/17 to 42 this reporting period.

This is the lowest recording period for three years with this quarter recording the second lowest quarterly figures over the last 5 years.

LSO McGhie, who is also the Chair of the Road Safety Partnership, said: “The Service will continue to work closely with partners in the Road Safety Partnership to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities to within all road user groups and aim to meet the Scottish Governments Vision Zero target.

“We have carried out a number of road safety activities in the area in a bid to reduce the likelihood of people, particularly youngsters, being involved in a road traffic collision - which as we know can have devastating consequences.

“We will continue to help people to stay safe both at home and whilst travelling through our ongoing campaigns in the local community. This will also be achieved through close partnership working which allows us to continually adopt a preventative and proactive approach.”

The number of deliberate fires in Dumfries and Galloway has fallen by more than 20 per cent from the same period in the previous year.

A total of 52 incidents were recorded by the emergency service between April and September – a reduction from 13 over the same period in 2016.

Most of the fires involved rubbish, wooded areas and grassland.

LSO McGhie said: “This is a positive result however we’re never complacent and preventing deliberate fires remains a key priority for us.

“We take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who deliberately sets fire and are committed to working closely with our partners, including Police Scotland, to help ensure those involved in this criminal activity are quickly identified and action taken.

“Preventing these incidents from occurring in the first place is our main aim and as such we continue to engage with local schools and youth groups to highlight the risks.”

To arrange a free Home Fire Safety visit contact SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form at /your-safety/for-householders/home-fire-safety-visit.aspx

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