Published: 19/12/2017 07:00 - Updated: 14/12/2017 14:04

Surge in blazes sparks appeal

A MASSIVE surge in festive fires has sparked an urgent plea for Highland residents to keep themselves safe.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was called out to 517 accidental domestic fires across Scotland during the festive period last year.

The figures, which covered December 7 to January 11, were a stark rise on the same period the previous year – when only 230 such fire were reported.

Accidental house fires can be caused by increased use of heating and electrical appliances – as well as higher alcohol consumption during the holiday season.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer David McGown said firefighters would be doing their bit to raise awareness of the dangers, but also urged the public to do their bit to avoid become victims.

He said: "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.

"I would directly appeal to people to check if their elderly relatives, neighbours or friends are in need of our support and to contact us directly. Home fire safety visits are a key pillar of our prevention work that help safeguard the public – especially vulnerable residents but also families and the wider community.

"These are free pre-arranged visits where SFRS staff identify signs to protect people and their homes. SFRS staff can also identify hazards in the home, help plan escape routes and supply and install smoke detectors for free."

The senior officer also appealed to people to take care on the roads as the colder weather can also see firefighters attend called out to more collisions.

For more advice on how to keep your home safe from fire during winter visit www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter

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