Scotland’s firefighters are struggling to reach those who are most at risk of fire in homes

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is appealing to communities across the country to help it reach Scotland’s most isolated and vulnerable people this festive season.

Scotland's firefighters are struggling to reach those who are most at risk of fire in homes.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) is appealing to communities across the country to help it reach Scotland’s most isolated and vulnerable people in 2024.

The Service’s Make the Call campaign is tasking families, friends, and carers to make a ten-minute phone call to book a free Home Fire Safety Visit (HFSV) to help save a life.

Sadly, in the last 12 months 42 people in Scotland have died because of fire, with more than half of them over the age of 50.

Intelligence gathered from fire investigations has shown that people over the age of 50, who smoke and either have mobility issues, live alone, or use medical oxygen, are more likely to be injured or killed by a fire in the home.

However, communities can put firefighters and SFRS specialists in touch with anyone they think is vulnerable by making a ten-minute phone call, sending a single text or by filling out an online form.

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Iain Macleod oversees Prevention and Protection at the Service.

He said: “Far too often when we attend fires, we know they could have been prevented.

“If we had known about someone's living situation and how vulnerable they were, we could have acted.

“But we do not know who is vulnerable, where they are, or how to contact them – we need help.

“That is why we are urging members of the public, families, and carers to make the call on the behalf of someone they know if they think they may be at risk or in a vulnerable to fire in the home.”

Once a call, text or online form is received, the Service will arrange for someone to receive a visit from trained SFRS staff from a local station to those who are most vulnerable.

During the visit, staff will identify key fire risks, offer solutions and assistance and where necessary can also install smoke detectors in the home for those who need it most.

DACO Macleod added: “That one short phone call could ultimately save a life or keep someone from harm, it costs nothing and we can arrange for our teams to minimise the risk in someone’s home.”

Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: “Please take a moment to think about anyone that you believe may be at risk of a fire in their home.

“By getting in touch with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for a Home Fire Safety Visit, you could save those most at risk.”

If you are a family member, or carer, then you can refer someone directly for a HFSV.

If you are a neighbour or a concerned friend, you must secure their consent before referring someone.

To make the call and book a free home fire safety visit firescotland.gov.uk/Home-Fire-Saftey-Visit, phone 0800 0731 999 or text “FIRE” to 80800.