Stay safe this Christmas in Falkirk and West Lothian
24 December 2013
Safety advice for the communities in Falkirk and West Lothian
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Falkirk and West Lothian have had a number of incidents involving the elderly communities recently. Unfortunately the majority of fire deaths in the home involve older people. Many older people live alone and have reduced mobility, which makes it harder to escape from a fire.
Group Manager for Prevention and Protection Stuart Stevens said: “While the festive season is a time for celebration and gathering together with family and friends we would like to raise awareness of the hidden dangers in the home over Christmas. More house fires happen in December and January than at any other time of year and we need everyone to be aware of the increased risk at this time of year.
“Christmas trees, decorations, lights, roaring fires and candles are just some of the winter and Christmas essentials that can spark tragedy if they aren't monitored carefully and precautions aren't taken. Extra caution is also needed with natural Christmas trees particularly if surrounded by lights or nearby candles, as these trees are very dry and highly flammable.
“The festive period is traditionally marked by a high incidence of domestic fires because houses contain more combustible materials than usual, whether it be trees, wrapping paper, candles or decorative lights. The good news is that these tragedies can be avoided by adopting some basic fire safety rules.”
Check your smoke and heat alarms are working. Replace batteries if necessary.
If you have an open fire make sure your chimney is swept before winter. Always use a fire guard, secured in position, to protect against flying sparks from hot embers.
Never place Christmas cards or decorations around the mantelpiece.
Check your Christmas light plugs are fitted with the correct fuse, don’t overload extension leads and ensure all electrical devices are Intertek BEAB approved.
Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.
Decorations can burn easily – don’t place them near lights or heaters.
Never leave cooking unattended, especially when using hot oil. For early warning of fire consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.
Take time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are at greater risk from fire, particularly if they suffer from ill health or disability.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service also works in partnership with agencies to help older people remain comfortable and safe in their homes. This time of year sees an increase rick to our elderly and vulnerable communities. Following our advice and requesting one of our FREE home fire safety visits, we can give you the reassurance that your home is as safe as it can be.
Group Manager Stuart Stevens continued: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service offer a Free Home Fire Safety Check to all householders in Falkirk and West Lothian who request a visit. These visits include valuable advice on the prevention of fire, the detection of fire should it occur and the formulation of an escape plan for all occupants of the household. This coupled with the free supply and fitting of smoke alarms provides reassurance to all those visited that they themselves can dramatically improve safety of themselves and their family.
“We all know older people who are at risk from fire – it could be a grandmother, aunt, friend or neighbour. This Christmas Join Scotland’s Fight Against Fire. If you, or someone you know, is at risk from fire, contact us now.”
Call 0800 0731 999, visit
www.firescotland.gov.uk or talk to your local firefighters.
More festive and winter safety advice is available on the SFRS website:
Or follow us on @Scotfire_FlkWL or @Scotfire_east