Accidental house fires continue to fall in Dumfries and Galloway

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Downward trend continues through the summer of 2018

Accidental dwelling fires in Dumfries and Galloway continue to fall, the latest statistics show.

A total of 19 incidents have been reported between April 1 and September 30 – down from 21 in the same period last year.

And almost half of all incidents were caused by people becoming distracted while cooking.

The findings were highlighted in a report brought before the Police and Fire Sub Committee meeting on Tuesday, December 11.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Local Senior Officer (LSO) for Dumfries and Galloway Hamish McGhie welcomed the fall but said the SFRS was not complacent and remained committed to reducing the number even further.

And LSO McGhie says the community has an important role to play.

He said: “It is pleasing to see the decline of accidental dwelling fires and other incidents but we continue to look at the intelligence and it is clear these are most commonly linked to cooking.
“We want to provide support and one of the ways we do this is through our free home safety visits where crews engage with families and the most vulnerable in our communities to ensure we provide the most appropriate support to reduce the risk of unintentional harm in the home.

“Partnership prevention work is key to saving lives and protecting properties so we will continue to engage with communities, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, to ensure risk is reduced and people can live safely.

“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.”

There were no fire related fatalities in the reporting period, while the number of people injured in fire related incidents rose slightly from two to three compared to the same period last year.

LSO McGhie added: “Any death is one too many - and preventing fatalities or serious injury is extremely important for us.

“We will continue to work with our partners and support our communities to prevent harm of any kind – that is why our free Home Fire Safety Visits are so vital in helping to protect the people of Dumfries and Galloway.”

The report also notes that the number of road traffic collisions has rose from 42 in in 2017 to 46 this reporting period.

LSO McGhie, who is also the Chair of the Road Safety Partnership, said: “The Service will continue to work closely with partners in the Road Safety Partnership to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities and aim to meet the Scottish Governments Vision Zero target.

“We have carried out a number of road safety activities in the area in a bid to reduce the likelihood of people, particularly youngsters, being involved in a road traffic collision - which as we know can have devastating consequences.

“We will continue to help people to stay safe both at home and whilst travelling through our ongoing campaigns in the local community. This will also be achieved through close partnership working which allows us to continually adopt a preventative and proactive approach.”

Dumfries and Galloway also saw a sharp rise in the number of deliberate fires in one of the hottest and driest summers seen in recent years.

A total of 72 incidents were recorded by the emergency service between April and September – an increase from 54 over the same period in 2017.

Most of the fires involved rubbish, wooded areas and grassland.

LSO McGhie said: “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.

“Preventing these incidents from occurring in the first place is our main aim and as such we continue to engage with local schools and youth groups to highlight the risks.”

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 /your-safety/for-householders/home-fire-safety-visit.aspx

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