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Fire service issues winter safety warning to residents

Firefighters in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are urging the public to stay safe over winter.

Colder weather leads to an increase in activity for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) due to road traffic collisions on icy roads, flooding and fire.

People also spend more time at home during the winter months.

Combined with the increased use of heating and electrical appliances, plus higher alcohol consumption during the festive season, there are more house fires in December and January than at any other time of year.

In the period between Monday, December 7, and Monday, January 11, last Christmas, firefighters attended 36 accidental house fires in Renfrewshire.

During the same time, 11 accidental house fires were attended in East Renfrewshire.

SFRS recommend that families take action right now to help keep safe over the next few months.

This includes checking smoke alarms, making sure your vehicle is winter ready and speaking to older relatives, neighbours or friends to ensure that they have working smoke alarms in their homes.

Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire residents are also being urged to fit a carbon monoxide alarm and give Christmas decorations the once-over.

Check fairy lights are in working order and ensure they are kept well away from paper or fabrics that can burn easily.

Always switch lights off when you leave the house or go to bed at night.

Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, director of prevention and protection for SFRS, said: “Every year across Scotland, there is a rise in emergency calls to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service due to winter weather. We urge the public to take action now and be prepared for whatever hazards might come in the next few months.

“This winter SFRS will work closely with local communities and partner agencies to keep Scotland safe from fire and other emergencies – but as always, we need the public’s help to reduce the amount of preventable fires we might see in the coming months.

“It is vital that your home has working smoke alarms, enough so that everyone in your home will be alerted in the event of fire. You should also consider fitting a heat alarm in your kitchen.

“Please also think about friends, relatives and neighbours. Particularly older people. Do you know someone who has no working smoke alarm in their home?”

“Winter weather also brings unexpected and dangerous conditions to our roads.

“It’s important to ensure that your vehicle is serviced, well maintained and that drivers take the necessary precautions when driving in bad weather.”

Anyone can arrange a home fire safety visit with local firefighters by calling 0800 0731 999 or visiting www.firescotland.gov.uk.

A range of tips on how to keep homes safe from fire are available on the SFRS website at www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter