[b]Sent on behalf of Scottish Fire and Rescue[/v]
This winter the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) wants your help. Neighbourhood Watch talked to Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, to find out more.
He explained: “We know that winter means more house fires than at any other time of year. We need your help, not just to keep your home safe, but to think about friends, relatives or neighbours who could be at risk.
“Most of us keep an eye out for someone who could be at risk, so there are things everyone can do to help older people stay safe from fire. Our crews offer a free Home Fire Safety Visit service but we need your help to make sure every older person is offered that support.
“If you know an older person who, for example, doesn’t have working smoke alarms in their home, please tell them about our service or call us to see how we can help.
“Over the last five years three-quarters of preventable fire deaths in Scotland were people aged 50 years or over – and almost a third of people injured through fire were aged 60 or over.
“Older people may spend more time at home or live alone and they are more likely to be affected by limited mobility, long term medical conditions, dementia and other cognitive impairments, limited sight or hearing and some types of medication. These factors make someone more likely to experience a fire in the home.
“We all lead busy lives, but taking the time to check on an older person can really make a difference. Every hour, every day there is a house fire in Scotland. We need active citizens to join Scotland’s fight against fire and help us to prevent these tragedies.”
The visits only take around 20 minutes and help householders spot fire hazards, make sure their home is safer at night. Firefighters also help residents plan what to do if fire does break out and identify any other agencies who could provide useful support.
They are entirely free and SFRS crews even fit smoke alarms free of charge if the home is found to need them.
ACO Ramsay added: “Our crews constantly work with a number of partners to keep our older people safe but the help of the public is absolutely key to preventing fire tragedies.
“If you know someone who is vulnerable then please get in touch with us. It’s easy to arrange a visit, but picking up the phone could save someone’s life.”
To request a free home fire safety visit for you, or someone you know call 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk
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