THE number of accidental dwelling fires in East Ayrshire has almost halved.
Latest figures show a total of 44 such incidents were recorded between April and September in 2017 – a decrease of 48 per cent on the year before.
The number of fire related casualties recorded over the period has remained level at 12.
The total number of all incidents attended by firefighters has fallen by three per cent to 1,217.
The downward trends were revealed to East Ayrshire’s Police, Fire and Rescue Committee on Tuesday, November 7 by Local Senior Officer (LSO) James Scott.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “Whilst I welcome the reduction in accidental dwelling fires, we are not complacent.
“Between April and September this year, firefighters carried out more than 500 Home Fire Safety Visits to help identify hazards as well as supply and install smoke detectors free of charge.
“We’re here to help everyone stay safe but we’re particularly keen to support the most vulnerable and elderly within our communities.
“That’s why we appeal to everyone to check if their elderly relatives, friends or neighbours are in need of this vital support – and to contact us directly.”
Deliberate fire setting in East Ayrshire remains a concern with 412 incidents in the current reporting period – up 17 per cent on the year before.
The vast majority were classed as secondary fires with many involving rubbish or refuse.
LSO Scott continued: “We have been working hard on every front to tackle and raise awareness of the potentially devastating consequences of deliberate fire raising.
“Positive engagement with local communities, particularly with young people, remains our most effective weapon in combatting this unacceptable behaviour.
“Ultimately, this behaviour endangers lives – and while we will always attend an emergency, it can draw our resources away from where they are needed most.
“We take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who deliberately sets fire and are committed to working closely with our partners, including Police Scotland, to help ensure those involved in this criminal activity are quickly identified and action taken.”
LSO Scott also took the opportunity to encourage residents to become a retained firefighter.
He said: “Our firefighters are committed to serving their communities to the best of their abilities and I pay tribute to those who are currently providing this important service.
“We can provide the equipment and training, but we need people to step forwards – this is a great opportunity to learn new skills and experiences while giving something back to your community.”
Retained firefighters are paid an annual retainer fee plus additional payments for every incident attended and time spent on all activity including training nights, community engagement and courses.
Anyone interested in applying can get more information by speaking to someone at their local fire station or visiting the official SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk/work-with-us/join-us-as-a-retained-firefighter.aspx
To book a Home Fire Safety Visit call 0800 0731 999, text “FIRE” to 80800, visit your local fire station or visit our website.