Topping Urges Fire Care At Home

>> 27 October 2011


Fraserburgh’s SNP councillor Brian Topping has urged members of the public to continue to consider the risks of fire in the home following the publication of new statistics.

Today's Fire Statistics Scotland publication provides more information on the previously announced provisional fire fatalities figures for 2010-11 of 47, which marked a decrease in fire deaths for the third year in a row.

Among the new statistics published today are accidental dwelling fires where impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs use was suspected to be a contributory factor. The figures show that in 2010-11, there were 5,254 accidental dwelling fires, of which 835 - 16 per cent - had alcohol and/or drugs as a suspected contributory factor. This marks a 0.6 per cent decrease from the 2009-10 total of 884 instances in 5,367 accidental dwelling fires.

Commenting, Councillor Topping, who is also President of the Scottish Accident Prevention Council (SAPC) and a prominent safety campaigner, said:

“We work day in and day out with our partners, including the Scottish Government who part fund us, to make the general public aware of the dangers of accidents in the home and home environment.

“I would encourage the public to think safe and be safe in their home. The SAPC strives to prevent accidents happening in the first place and most accidents are preventable. The SAPC very much supports the Scottish Government and all our community partners in their efforts.

“As a member of the Grampian Fire & Rescue Service Joint Board, I would remind everyone that a free fire safety home visit is available from our dedicated local firefighters and a smoke alarm can be installed if necessary.”

Minister for Community Safety Roseanna Cunningham MSP welcomed the reduction in the number of fires, but reminded all members of the public to continue to exercise caution in the home and elsewhere to ensure they and their loved ones remain safe from the dangers of fire.

Ms Cunningham said:

"While many of these statistics have already been published on a provisional basis, there are new figures that offer insight into the causes of fire in the home.

"We now know that alcohol and/or drugs were suspected to have been a factor in at least one in seven accidental house fires over the past two years. We will continue to monitor this figure very carefully in future.

"Although other key figures in this publication indicate an improving awareness of the danger of fire in our homes, this underlines that a link remains between alcohol, drug use and fire. We all want our communities to be safe from fire, especially as we prepare to enter the festive period.

"The Scottish Government and fire services continue to work hard educating people about the dangers of fire, and the most important message we can give is not to be complacent and always be on your guard. We also urge you to get a smoke alarm and check it regularly to ensure it is in working order. Alarms really do save lives.

"Our campaigns are raising awareness of the risks of fire, be it alcohol consumption, smoking, misuse of electrical appliances or the overloading of electrical sockets, but more can and will be done to encourage everyone to take fire safety seriously."

Guidance on how you can protect your home from fire can be found at the Don't Give Fire a Home website:

Details on how to request a free home safety visit from local Fire and Rescue Services can also be found on the website. A visit costs nothing, only takes around 20 minutes and trained firefighters can install a free smoke alarm if necessary.

Alternatively, people can text FIRE to 61611 for further information.

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