The Wee County fire service will launch a pilot programme to bolster its prevention strategy among the most vulnerable people in the community.
Reducing accidental dwelling fires (ADFs) has become a major priority for the Scottish Fire & Service (SFRS) in Clacks, following a significant spike recently.
In September, the Advertiser reported that some wards were witnessing around three times as many incidents, compared to previous years.
The figures sparked renewed safety calls from Clackmannanshire firefighters, who fear the trend could eventually lead to someone being seriously injured or killed.
With the service’s preventative work falling on deaf ears, a revised programme has been proposed which would mean more focused work aimed at marginalised or withdrawn members of the community.
Gordon Pryde, SFRS group manager in Clacks, told the Advertiser: “The fire service is broadening the scope of what we can do for the community; under the new strategic plan we are not just focused on fire prevention but also the general well-being of those we serve.
“We are keen to engage with the most vulnerable people in our communities, but a major problem for us that the people we can provide the greatest of support to are usually those most withdrawn from society.
“That can be for a variety of reasons, but we hope we are in a position to reach those which others cannot.
“Being the fire service, we have already built up a relationship of trust with communities and there may well be people who will speak with us that maybe wouldn’t speak with other agencies.
“We will work with partners to identify those in need, for whatever reason, and will share and receive information where appropriate.”
Mr Pryde added: “A key element of this strategy is to reduce accidental dwelling fires and there has been a increase of these fires in Clacks.
“That’s why we continue to champion early warning and will engage with as many people as we can. We will also offer home fire safety visits to anyone referred to us by a partner.
“We would encourage everyone to have a smoke alarm in their home and to ensure that it is tested regularly.”
Last month, Mr Pryde told members of Clackmannanshire Council about the programme which will see firefighters in Clacks receive training to increase staff knowledge about mental health issues.
As a result, crews will be able to spot the signs of vulnerability while on call outs and make referrals to their partner agencies.
The SFRS has also allocated additional funding to allow the retained firefighters to increase the number of home fire safety visits completed in communities.