Fire safety bid to protect pensioners

FIRE bosses are asking communities to help protect the elderly from danger.

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A total of 22 elderly people have died in Glasgow in the past five years in accidental house fires.

Now, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), are urging neighbours to keep an eye on older people in a bid to cut this number.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, SFRS director of prevention and protection, said: "Toxic smoke is a killer of the young and old alike, but the truth is, the effects of smoke inhalation are more serious for older people.

"Many fire tragedies need not happen - simple steps save lives. Firefighters need the public to answer this call to action and put us in touch with anyone who could be vulnerable."

Since 2009, 107 older people in Scotland have lost their lives to fire, with 22 of those in Glasgow.

More than 1300 people aged 60 and over have been injured in fires, with 700 in Glasgow suffering injuries.

In the past five years there have been 21,000 across the country - 4700 of them were in Glasgow.

A total of 37 people have died and, of those, 22 have been people aged 60 and over.

Scotland has seen a steady fall in house fires over recent years as the country's frontline crews have taken on a greater role in efforts to prevent fires and protect communities.

Firefighters now visit nearby properties in the days following a house fire to raise awareness of the risks.

The Home Fire Safety Visit programme is central to the Join Scotland's Fight Against Fire campaign, with SFRS crews conducting more than 56,000 of the visits last year. Partnerships with the NHS, social work departments, housing providers, the police and third sector organisations help firefighters target their prevention work more effectively.

But the public themselves are key to protecting vulnerable residents.

ACO Ramsay added: "Our message is clear. Encourage those around you to get a free home fire safety visit, or pick call us on their behalf."

Designed to be informal and straight- forward, home fire safety visits only take around half an hour and are delivered by firefighters from the community.

Anyone can arrange a free home fire safety visit by calling the SFRS on the freephone number: 0800 0731 999

or by texting 'check' to 61611.

catriona.stewart@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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