Aberdeenshire has the lowest number of fires per head of the population when compared to figures for the north service delivery area and the national average.
The figures were presented to Aberdeenshire Council scrutiny committee members at today’s meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee.
Although the area has seen a small 8% rise in accidental house fire numbers for the quarter one and quarter two periods when compared to the previous year the figures still show that the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and its work with communities is helping keep people safer.
Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, David Rout, said: “The area is working hard to reduce accidental house fires.
“Although we have seen a slight increase in the numbers the first two quarters of the year we have increased our delivery of Home Fire Safety Visits by 5% from 1024 to 1065 for the same period last year.
“Partnership working and the delivery of Home Fire Safety Visits are both key areas in reducing the number of accidental house fires.
“The area is making good progress in relation to both of these with strong partnerships developed with the local authority in relation to sheltered housing and care for people.”
LSO Rout added: “We continue to develop our partnerships to ensure that those who are most vulnerable from fire are identified and that appropriate risk reduction measures are put in place.”
There were no fatalities as a result of fire during the reporting period and only a slight increase in fire casualties in Aberdeenshire.
LSO Rout commented: “It is pleasing to note there were no fire fatalities during the reporting period but we are never complacent.
“We have seen a slight rise in fire casualties, but not significantly above the average over the past five years.
“Of the 13 casualties during the reporting period, 10 of them required only first aid and three were taken to hospital with slight injuries. Aberdeenshire had a lower number of accidental house fire casualties per head of the population when compared to the north service delivery area and the national average.”
LSO Rout has been instrumental in developing a unique “Community Support and Safety Officer” post in Aberdeenshire that is jointly funded by SFRS, Aberdeenshire Council as part of the SFRS service transformation project work.
He commented: “I’m delighted we have finally advertised this unique post that will serve local communities through enhancing local resilience and contributing to wider partner prevention work such as falls in the home, fire safety and wider community safety matters. This will assist in delivery of the objectives outlined in Marr Community Plan and Aberdeenshire Local Fire and Rescue plan.”
At the same time LSO Rout announced a formal partnership with Aberdeenshire Care and Repair that sees staff from Care and Repair delivery high value Home Fire Safety Visits throughout the county has been signed off through a formal memorandum of understanding between the SFRS and Aberdeenshire Council.
“We have populated our Community Safety Action Team and deploy them to areas of identified need. We also contribute to the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership and lead on the Reducing Unintentional Harm theme group.”
The area has seen, however, an increase in deliberate fires from 79 for the reporting period in 2015/16 to 96 in the same period this year.
LSO Rout said: “In the Aberdeenshire area, evidence reflects that deliberate fires are a significant problem in specific areas that can be closely linked to anti-social behaviour.
“Partnership working is key and, with the assistance of partners and communities we will continue to work to reduce secondary fire activity in areas where historically we have seen the highest level of activity.”
He added: “We continue working with partners through the Community Safety Partnership and our partners at Police Scotland to reduce deliberate fires. The areas of increased activity include Fraserburgh and District, Stonehaven and Lower Deeside.
“During this period our Station Managers in Banff and Buchan, Buchan and Kincardine and Mearns have worked closely with Police Scotland Inspectors. This work has involved an increased focus in these areas as well as school talks highlighting the dangers and consequences of deliberate fire setting.
“To further enhance this we will be re-invigorating the deliberate fire reduction group in Buchan and Banff and Buchan.”