Householders urged to stay safe and avoid accidental house fires this festive season

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Firefighters typically attend around 4,000 accidental house fires each year and ahead of the festive season they are issuing advice to help people stay safe.

Last year, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) attended 4,174 accidental house fires, with around a tenth of those (381) occurring in the month of December.

Households have additional pressures of rising living costs this winter. Many people will be looking at using alternative methods of heating, lighting and cooking at home.

They could inadvertently be placing themselves at risk of accidental fire – and also carbon monoxide poisoning. SFRS is urging households to be exercise caution when using:

  • Candles
  • Portable heaters
  • Cooking methods

SFRS Head of Community Safety Engagement, Gordon Pryde, said: “We want to ensure people in our communities and their loved ones stay safe at home and enjoy this festive season for all the right reasons.

“This winter we are seeing fuel poverty and rises in the cost of living, and as people look to cut costs, they could inadvertently be placing themselves at risk from accidental fire.

“If you are using candles, please be extra vigilant. They can be a fire risk and we would recommend using safer alternatives, such as LED candles and lights, or torches to light your home.

“Ensure candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire, and out of reach of children and pets. Never leave candles unattended and ensure they are all completely extinguished at night or when you go out.

“If you are using fewer rooms to cut down on costs, ensure there is space around any candles, as well as around heaters and open fires to reduce the risk of fire and also use the correct fuels for woodburning stoves and open fires.

“We would also always strongly discourage the use of any homemade heating device, these can present fire risks as well as potential risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“Be aware also, that carbon monoxide could be a risk if you’re using any old or unfamiliar heaters and do not use camping stoves or barbecues indoors as this can also present carbon monoxide risk. This undetectable gas can be deadly and installing a carbon monoxide detector is recommended.”

SFRS is also reminding people to look out for others who are most vulnerable to fire in the home. Members of the public can ‘Make the Call’ as part of a campaign to assist vulnerable people with getting a Home Fire Safety Visit.

If you know of someone who needs a Home Fire Safety Visit get in touch by calling 0800 0731 999. Or text FIRE to 80800. Help to support those who are most at risk of fire.

Read our advice on how to stay safe at home

Read about our Make the Call Campaign

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