Fire chief says: 'Help us save lives this Christmas'

FIRE chiefs are calling for people to take extra care over Christmas - when the number of house fires soar.

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The public is being urged to recognise fire risks
The public is being urged to recognise fire risks

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is campaigning to prevent fire deaths during the festive season.

As people celebrate Christmas they are being urged to recognise fire risks and take action to stop house fires and avoid the deaths, injuries and trauma they can cause.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, the SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: "I am urging everyone to join Scotland's fight against fire and help us save lives this Christmas.

"More house fires occur in December and January than in other months so everyone needs to be aware of the increased risk at this time of year.

"Impairment due to alcohol or drugs is suspected to have been a factor in fires that resulted in 10 deaths and almost 280 injuries during 2012 and 13.

"The festive season often brings with it a significant increase in the number of incidents and we all need to know combining alcohol with cooking is a lethal mix."

Last year the Evening Times joined forces with the then Strathclyde Fire and Rescue to help Glasgow's fight against fire.

And the campaign is still going on.

December and January see the highest numbers of accidental house fires, as alcohol and cooking create a potentially lethal combination.

Mr Ramsay added: "Cooking appliances must never be left unattended while they are in use and anyone who is cooking while under the influence of alcohol must be aware of the risk and take extreme care.

"When fire does start, having an early warning is often the difference between life and death, so it is essential that every home has a working smoke alarms."

"Our message is clear - be an active citizen, help us save lives, make that call and join Scotland's fight against fire this Christmas."

Anyone can arrange a free home fire safety visit by calling the SFRS Freephone number 0800 0731 999 or by contacting their local fire station.

To help keep people safe, SFRS will share specific safety tips in a 12 Days of Christmas campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

The first message, on December 13, advised social media users to make sure their Christmas tree lights conformed to the British standard.

See @scotfire_north, @scotfire_west and @scotfire_east, and the official SFRS Facebook page.

More festive safety advice is available on the SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Fire

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