Firefighters carry out more than 700 home fire safety visits across Falkirk

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LSO David Lockhart believes proactive prevention work is key to keeping people safe.

Firefighters in Falkirk carried out more than 700 home fire safety visits during a six month period last year.

Between April and September, 721 visits were made to ensure families and residents were supported to reduce fire risks within their homes.

The statistics were revealed as it emerged the number of people injured by fire in Falkirk has more than halved - between September 2016 and September 2017.

Fire-related casualties fell by 55 per cent with 10 casualties recorded over the same reporting period, a reduction of 12 during the same timeframe in 2016.

The figures emerged in a report prepared by Scottish Fire and Rescue Local Senior Officer (LSO) David Lockhart which went before Falkirk Council’s External Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, January 11.

LSO Lockhart welcomed the figures but said firefighters will continue prevention efforts.

He said: “I am pleased to note that fire-related casualties fell during the six month period of April to September 2017.

“Firefighters are committed to protecting and supporting communities wherever possible, which I believe is demonstrated by the high number of home safety visits carried out by firefighters.

“Such visits are absolutely integral to ensuring families are safe in their own homes and we are always particularly keen to support the most elderly and the vulnerable, and serve the public to the very best of our ability.”

Between April and September, the number of accidental house fires occurring in the area fell by three to 50 instances.

The Service responded to more than 1300 total incidents during the same six month period, an increase of thirteen per cent on the previous year.

The compiled statistics further show that deliberate fire-setting across the area has increased.

Crews attended 251 deliberately set fires in the Falkirk area over the latest reporting period - a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

To reduce this, local crews have carried out a range of educational initiatives to educate young people on the dangers and consequences involved.

LSO Lockhart said: “Getting into schools and speaking with young people is one of the most important tasks our firefighters carry out.

“Educating schools and wider communities on the dangers and consequences involved in fire-setting is critical to reducing these figures.

“We take a zero tolerance approach towards anyone who deliberately sets fires.”

A further key priority for the SFRS is reducing the number of unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS).

In this reporting period, the SFRS attended 296 UFAS, a two per cent reduction from the same period last year.

Mr Lockhart believes partnership work will prove beneficial in further reducing UFAS figures.

He said: “Unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS) can divert SFRS resources away from genuine emergencies and result in unnecessary blue light journeys for our firefighters.

“UFAS can result in lost revenue for businesses and the risk of staff becoming complacent.

“We are committed to working with duty holders and, where appropriate, improving management arrangements within premises to reduce the number of unwanted fire alarm signals.

“This will allow organisations to understand and manage their fire alarm systems to reduce business disruption and the number of unnecessary blue light journeys.”

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