Firefighters in Angus will be advising vulnerable people during a nationwide ‘week of action’ aimed at preventing house fires and tragedies.
The move follows an appeal from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) for the public to help it reach those most likely to be killed or injured in a fire in the home.
The campaign is seeing firefighters and community safety advocates knocking on doors and delivering free Home Fire Safety Visits to our most vulnerable citizens.
Colin Grieve, local senior officer for Angus, Perth and Kinross and Dundee, said: “Between January and May, 28 people lost their lives in fires in Scotland and June has so far seen two more fatalities.
“Many fires where someone is killed or injured could be prevented and crews are reaching out to anyone who could use advice or support.
“Often, the people who are at highest risk are often the most reluctant to contact us.”
People over 60 accounted for almost two-thirds of those killed by fire in 2015 and, as well as age, common factors contributing to many deaths were smoking, ill-health, living alone and limited mobility.
By sending out operational crews and community firefighters, SFRS hopes residents will benefit from the advice and support available to keep their homes safe.
LSO Grieve added: “Firefighters can help residents understand the risks and take very minor actions known to dramatically reduce the chance of a fire starting.
“If someone is over 60, lives alone or has difficulty moving around then it can take more time for them to escape.
“We can help make sure smoke alarms are positioned where they will give people effective early warning and that everyone knows how to get out if a fire does start.
“We can help people understand the risk of smoking in bed or if they’re tired and sitting in a chair, and we can lower their risk. A huge amount of support is available but we need partner agencies and the public to help make sure it gets to those who need it.
“We have an aging population – 23 per cent of the UK will be aged 65 and over by 2035.”
Free home fire safety visits take around 20 minutes.
They are available by calling the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in an online form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.
LSO Grieve said: “We all need to do what we can to protect not only ourselves but also those around us.
“I’d appeal for everyone to consider if they know someone who is potentially vulnerable and could benefit from our support.
“We also want to remind everyone that if they hear a smoke alarm activating then they need to call 999 and report it right away.
“Many people can be reluctant to make an emergency call and assume an alarm has gone off due to something innocuous like burnt toast, but the fact is waiting to see if the alarm stops could cost someone their life.”