The local senior fire officer in Aberdeenshire and Moray is calling on householders to think about fire safety and give fire the cold shoulder this winter.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) wants people to Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire and is appealing to the public to stay safe this winter by taking the necessary steps to protect their families, homes, customers and communities.
Winter weather results in an increase in activity for the SFRS due to road traffic collisions on icy roads, flooding and fire.
Winter weather also means people spend more time at home. Combined with increased use of heating and electrical appliances plus higher alcohol consumption during the festive season, there are more house fires in December and January than at any other time of year.
SFRS are reminding the public that it’s particularly important to look after the people in our communities who are vulnerable to the hazards winter weather brings, such as older people.
Over the last five years three-quarters of preventable fire deaths in Scotland were people aged 50. SFRS offer free Home Fire Safety Visits that include fitting smoke alarms if required.
Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, David Rout, said: “Historically we see a rise in emergency calls due to winter weather. I would like to urge the public to take action now and be prepared for whatever hazards might come in the next few weeks.
“There is lots of advice online about staying safe throughout the season for the public and businesses at www.readyscotland.org.
“If you or someone you know may be at risk from fire, please get in touch now and arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit by calling 0800 0731 999 or visiting www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter
“This winter we will work closely with local communities and partner agencies to keep the wider Aberdeenshire and Moray area 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.
“During a cold winter we use central heating and gas fires more often so the time to fit and test Carbon Monoxide alarms is now. It’s also important to ensure that any chimneys or flues have been swept and are in a good, clean, working order.
“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.’’
Further information about staying safe on the roads is available from www.roadsafetyscotland.org.uk.”
Top winter safety tips from SFRS include:
·Keep portable heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes, switching them off before you go to bed
·Never leave an electric blanket switched on when you’re in bed unless it’s marked ‘suitable for all night use’. Check your electric blanket, plug and flex regularly for damage. If you’re in any doubt, don’t use it
·Unplug fairy lights or other electrical Christmas decorations and blow out candles when you leave the house or go to bed
·Leaving cookers unattended or being distracted while cooking is the most frequent cause of fire in the home. Never cook hot food while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
·Don’t smoke in your chair if you’ve been drinking or you’re feeling tired. If you do feel tired smoke outside or stand up and smoke at a window or outside.