Burnt out living room warns locals

THE IMPORTANCE of having working fire alarms in the home was highlighted when a touring show presented by Tayside Fire and Rescue demonstrated just how devastating a fire can be.

Firefighters urged visitors to make fire safety a priority during their visit to Morrisons, Hume Street, on Friday.

They stressed the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home which are tested weekly following two recent fatal house fires in Glenalmond, Perthshire, and the Hilltown area of Dundee.

With the contents of a burnt-out living room on show, the tour provided a graphic demonstration of what a fire can do in a short period of time. Firefighters encouraged passing shoppers to book a free home fire safety visit - a 20 minute visit which involves firefighters checking the home for hazards and fitting free smoke alarms if required.

Of the 557 house fires which occurred in Tayside in 2010/11, over half (51 per cent) of these homes didn’t have a working smoke alarm or had no smoke alarm at all. In the same year, five people in the area lost their lives and 64 people were hurt or injured.

Tayside Fire and Rescue’s group manager, Martin Tait, said: “This safety tour comes on the back of two devastating house fires in the Tayside area and we’re asking people to be extra vigilant at this time and check their smoke alarms to ensure their homes are properly protected.

“Fire can strike at any time and a working smoke alarm can provide you with that all important early warning. Firefighters are here to help and advise people on how to reduce the risk of a fire staring within their home. I would urge everyone who hasn’t yet taken us up on the offer to book a home fire safety visit now.”

He concluded: “As we’ve seen from these recent incidents, fires devastate families and communities, and we’re appealing to people to take action to help reduce the risk.”

Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, commented: “The number of lives lost to fire in Scotland has fallen for the third year in a row, but we cannot forget the victims and families affected.

“Every life lost to fire is a tragedy and lessons must be learned to ensure the number of lives lost continues to fall. That’s why this campaign is so important.

“We all want our communities to be safe from fire and The Scottish Government and Fire and Rescue Services continue to work hard educating people about the risks of fire – be it alcohol consumption, smoking, misuse of electrical appliances, the overloading of electrical sockets or by other means. The most important message we can give is not to be complacent and always be on your guard.”

Of the 6,336 house fires which occurred in Scotland in 2010/11, almost half (49 per cent) of these homes didn’t have a working smoke alarm or had no smoke alarm at all. In the same year, 40 people lost their lives and over 1,100 people were hurt and injured.

People can text FIRE to 61611 to request a free home fire safety visit. For fire safety advice visit www.dontgivefireahome.org.

Barrie Watt, Morrisons deputy manager, said that the store was delighted to be able to accommodate the firefighters as they hammered home the safety message.

He went on: “They have a graphic display which seems to be stopping people in their tracks. It has gone very well. They were very busy this morning and it looks set to be even busier this afternoon.”

Twitter: @Arbroath_Herald