ONCE again in what is sadly an annual occurrence – along with the festive holiday period – we have seen a number of house fires claiming lives.

The number of fire deaths in the West of Scotland has fallen significantly in recent years, but still we see people, many elderly, many living alone, dying in a blaze which could have been prevented.

When a fire breaks out we can be sure that our firefighters will respond immediately and tackle the blaze with the skill and bravery we have come to expect.

But the firefighting we can all do starts long before a spark is ignited and can prevent a blaze breaking out at all, saving lives.

The first step is to get the right advice from your local fire station, helping make your home free of fire hazards and ensure you know what to do in the event of a fire.

A working and maintained smoke alarm is an essential for every home and can increase your chances of surviving a fire enormously by giving you the maximum time to react.

Older people are most vulnerable to house fires and are statistically most likely to die in a domestic blaze, so keeping an eye out and checking on the elderly can make all the difference.

By backing the Join the Fight Against Fire campaign we can help ensure our communities are as safe as they can be.