Families are being urged to stay safe over the festive period by taking easy steps to avoid the risk of fire.
During the Christmas and New Year period last year, firefigthers across Scotland attended more than 500 accidental house fires, between December 11 and January 7, due to a variety of causes including an increased use of heating and electrical appliances plus higher alcohol consumption.
The colder weather, meahwhile can also see firefighters attend more traffic collisions caused by treacherous driving conditions during ice and flooding. There were 230 such incidents over the same period last year.
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, director of revention and protection for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Sservice (SFRS) said that annually there is an increase in emergency calls due to the winter weather.
He continued: “This winter SFRS will work closely with local communities and partner agencies to keep Scotland safe from fire and other emergencies - but as always, we need the public’s help to reduce the amount of preventable fires we might see in the coming months.
“It is vital that your home has working smoke alarms, enough so that everyone in your home will be alerted in the event of fire. You should also consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.
“Please also think about friends, relatives and neighbours. Particularly older people. Do you know someone who has no working smoke alarm in their home? Contact SFRS for a free Home Fire Safety Visit.
“Winter weather also brings unexpected and dangerous conditions to our roads. It’s important to ensure that your vehicle is serviced, well maintained and that drivers take the necessary precautions when driving in bad weather.”
The SFRS is recommending five easy steps to stay safe:-
Check smoke alarms weekly to ensure they are in working order. Clean them to remove dust when needed
Check vehicles’ tyre tread and ensure there is an emergency travel kit consisting of a first aid kit, blanket, ice scraper and shovel for snow.
Check that older relatives, neighbours or friends have working smoke alarms and have an escape plan in case of a fire? Free Home Fire Safety Visit can be arranged by calling 0800 0731 999.
Fit and test carbon monoxide alarms.
Check Christmas decorations and lights to ensure they are kept well away from paper or fabrics that can burn easily. Don’t attach decorations to radiators and make sure they are a safe distance from fireplaces or candles. Always switch lights off when you leave the house or go to bed at night.
A wide range of tips on staying are available on the SFRS website at www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter