Fire safety officers take a targeted approach after fatalities

FIRE chiefs have targeted more than 50 single men with safety messages following two tragic deaths in Wee County.

The two deaths came as Clacks saw an increase in accidental home fires between April 2020 and March this year, with people confined to their homes during the months of lockdown.

The statistics were put into context by Mark Bryce, the Scottish Regional Fire and Rescue Service Manager, who presented the figures to the Clackmannanshire Council Partnership and Performance Committee on Thursday 28 October.

Accidentally caused home fires dropped from 40 to 54 in the previous year and sadly left two dead after three years without fatalities in this category.

The number of non-fatal domestic victims also rose to 21, although these could include minor things, for example firefighters administering some oxygen at the scene.

Mr Bryce told the committee: “These two deaths were of an elderly man and both involved cooking.”

As part of prevention work, firefighters have been advancing their home fire safety visit program for several years, but it has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

This meant that much of the activity had to be done remotely although procedures were in place to allow visits to those considered most at risk.

A sense of normalcy has since been restored with Mr Bryce adding: ‘We quickly identified procedures that would ensure the safety of our own staff and the public and we identified a new group of very high risk members of the public, who were men over 50 who used to smoke and drink alcohol.

“We made them a priority to contact and complete the home fire safety visit. ”

Due to the increase in the number of house fires in April of last year, the Severe Fire Task Force was put in place by the fire departments.

This group is responsible for producing a quarterly fire fatality report to assist with community safety engagement activities.

Responding to a question from Cllr Donald Balsillie, the Area Manager for Clacks, Stirling and Fife added: “I was on this working group to look at each of these incidents to identify trends and that’s where we identified the very high risk group. for home fire safety visits.

“Men, over 50, alcoholics, smokers, living alone – these are the very high risk group that we have identified.”

To request a free home fire safety visit, people can call 0800 0731 999 or text “FIRE” at 80800.

To refer a person, visit bit.ly/3jP369U for more information.


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Susan W. Lloyd

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