Strathclyde Fire and Rescue call “community to action” for fire safety

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 12:48 GMT on Friday, 2nd November 2012.
 


STRATHCLYDE Fire and Rescue has urged members of the public to join the fight against fire, issuing a “community call to action” in the run up to Bonfire Night. 

Every year careless bonfires take firefighters away from other incidents – putting lives at risk. By choosing to attend only official bonfire events, residents will help keep people, property and vital resources safe. 

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, Director of Community Safety for Strathclyde Fire & Rescue (SFR), said: “I would urge the public to attend official bonfire events this year and join the fight against fire. Not only is it the best way to stay safe, but careless bonfires take crews away from serious incidents in our communities – so choosing to attend organised events will protect people, property and ensure our firefighters can get to where they are most needed.” 

During the bonfire period, firefighters can be three times as busy as normal. Having to tackle bonfires means it could take crews longer to attend serious incidents – with potentially tragic consequences. 

Bonfire Night is the busiest time of year for the fire service. Last year, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue responded to 563 incidents on November 5 alone – showing the massive impact careless bonfires have on every community’s fire cover. 

Careless bonfires also see public money go up in smoke. In the three weeks leading up to Bonfire Night, SFR receives more than 1,500 emergency calls to put out fires involving bonfire material, rubbish bins, refuse skips and unoccupied buildings – many of which spread to houses and businesses. 

The cost of bonfires and fireworks to the taxpayer, homes and businesses is massive – but they also ruin lives. Over the past five years more than 350 pre-school children, some as young as one-year-old, were treated in hospital for firework injuries. Often, the psychological damage lasts for years. 

‘Join the Fight Against Fire’ gives more information about how to be safe on November 5, with a range of additional information to raise public awareness of fire safety at home and in the workplace. The campaign lets the public know how to refer family, friends and neighbours – who may be specifically at-risk – for a free Home Fire Safety Visit, or other services that focus on protecting older people from fire. 

For a free Home Fire Safety Visit, all you have to do is call the Home fire Safety Hotline on 0800 0731 999, or text “check” to 61611. You can also get in touch by calling your local community fire station and more information is available on the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue website. 

ACO Ramsay added: “We have no better ally in the fight against fire than the community. With your help we can make a difference – this is a community call to action!” 

Information on spectacular, free and safe official Bonfire Night events throughout the region is available on the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue website. Anyone who decides to hold their own events should always follow the fireworks code – available on the SFR website at: http://www.strathclydefire.org/your-safety/out-and-about/fireworks.aspx.