The number of fire-related casualties across North Ayrshire has reduced to a five year low, latest statistics show.
A total of 21 people were assisted by firefighters, mainly for smoke inhalation, between April, 2016, and March, 2017.
This is compared to 37 casualties over the same period in the previous year – a fall of 43 per cent.
There has also been a drop in the number of accidental dwelling fires, with 155 compared to 160.
Meanwhile, dedicated Scottish Fire and Rescue Service firefighters carried out more than 1,400 Home Fire Safety Visits.
The met residents at their homes to look out for hazards, provide advice and check or install vital smoke detectors.
More than 25 per cent of the Home Fire Safety Visits helped to support vulnerable and elderly residents.
The figures were revealed by North Ayrshire fire chief James Scott in a report to the Police, Fire and Rescue Committee earlier today, Tuesday, May 30.
Local Senior Officer Scott said: “We believe that the best way to fight a fire is to prevent it happening in the first place.
“Accidental fires can have a devastating impact on the lives of the people involved, and the community as a whole – physically, emotionally, and financially.
“And while the reduction in the number of fire-casualties and accidental fires is welcome, we will never be complacent and we will continue to strive to keep driving them down.”
The SFRS offers free Home Fire Safety Visits during which firefighters share advice to help residents recognise risks, have smoke alarms checked and find out what to do in the event of a fire.
And LSO Scott says preparation is key to preventing harm.
He continued: “A working smoke detector can and has saved lives – we can install them free of charge as part of our free Home Fire Safety Visits.
“We are especially keen to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities are protected and you can help us reach them - whether it is an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, family member or friend.
“If you know someone who would benefit from an HFSV then please get in touch.”
Deliberate fires, which were mainly due to rubbish and refuse, increased from 537 to 640 – a rise of 19 per cent.
LSO Scott said: “Sadly, deliberate fires are often linked to anti-social behaviour in our communities.
“Working with our partners in Police Scotland and the local authority, tackling this kind of behaviour is a top priority.
“Whilst we always have the resources needed to respond to any emergency through robust strategic planning, having to attend needless incidents can divert crews who may be needed elsewhere.
“Deliberate fires have the potential to cause harm, threaten properties, damage the environment and disrupt the community.
“We would ask the public to be vigilant and to report any sign of fire raising activity to the police. To those responsible, we would urge them to consider the impact their reckless actions might have.”
To arrange a free Home Fire Safety visit contact SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, by texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or by filling in a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk