Don’t let your family become a fire statistic

Fire safety
Fire safety

Top tips for keeping safe this festive season

Fire can happen to anyone at anytime. It’s not something we think about every day, but the reality is that there were over 6000 house fires in Scotland last year, most of which happened to people who never thought they were at risk.

In almost half of these fires, there was no working smoke alarm installed, or no smoke alarm at all.

As Christmas approaches, people are being encouraged to make sure they take simple steps to reduce the chances of having a fire in the home – the most important step being to install working smoke alarms and test them weekly.

And with smoking and drinking continuing to be common factors in accidental house fires in Scotland, being extra vigilant when putting out cigarettes and avoiding cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol can significantly reduce the risk.

Alex Clark, chief fire officer at Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said:

“Firefighters know all too well that fire can strike at anytime and anywhere. We respond to these incidents every day in Scotland and we see the devastating consequences of accidental house fires and the impact they have on families and our communities. Last year, over 1,200 people were hurt or injured as a result of fire in the home. “Historically as we go into the winter months we see a rise in the number of accidental fires, due to people spending more time in their homes, an increased reliance on heaters, tumble dyers and electric blankets and the use of log and coal burning fires.

“I would urge people to take the time to think about taking up the opportunity of a free Home Fire Safety Visit from their local Fire and Rescue Service. It could save your life one day.”

To request a free Home Fire Safety Visit, text FIRE to 61611 or visit

Top tips for safety first

Before you leave the house or go to bed:

Switch off and unplug all electrical appliances not designed to be left on overnight, including washing machines and dishwashers

Stub out all cigarettes and always empty ashtrays.

Put fireguards around open fires. Don’t build up the fire before you go out or to bed

Switch off portable heaters

Never leave candles unattended and make sure they are all put out before you leave a room or go to bed

Close all doors, it can keep your escape route free from smoke and may stop a fire spreading

Make sure the main door keys are to hand

Every Week:

Test your smoke alarm - fit a new battery or alarm if necessary and ensure batteries are never removed

Think about what you would do if a fire broke out in your home and how you would get you and your family to safety, particularly if it happened during the night

Make a plan and practice it with everyone who is normally in the home

Every Year:

Replace batteries in all smoke alarms in the home

Have any fire extinguishers you own checked and serviced