FIRE safety in the home seems simple enough — ensure you have a smoke alarm fitted, and take care with your electrical appliances.
But how many of us regularly check that the detector is actually working — and how many more are guilty of disconnecting it from time to time when an overcooked dinner sets it off?
Scottish fire chiefs have been campaigning throughout the festive season to remind us all to check our smoke alarms every week.
Figures indicate that around half of the fire deaths recorded in Scotland last year were in homes where there was no working alarm.
Most of us will just be getting to taking the Christmas lights down, not to mention those new gizmos and gadgets lying around — all of which increase the risk of fire.
Lewis Ramsay, assistant chief officer and director of community safety for Strathclyde fire and rescue, explained: “The message is to get your home properly protected by installing and regularly testing your smoke alarm, and ensuring batteries are never removed.
“Electrical appliances not designed to be left switched on should be put off when not in use.
“Every home should have a working smoke alarm fitted to provide early warning of the onset of fire and help keep people safe”.
Glasgow woman Debbie Fullerton knows all too well the importance of fire safety.
The young mum lost all her possessions after her hair straighteners caused a house fire in 2009.
Luckily she and her daughter were out at the time — but Debbie was unable to return to her home for 18 months, and then she was left with nothing.
She commented: “Although I’m so grateful that no one was in the house at the time, we lost everything: clothes and furniture through to special and irreplaceable things like photos. We had to start all over again.
“Fire is something I never really thought about before it happened to me, but now I’m a lot more careful and have smoke alarms installed. I hope people reading this will take fire safety seriously and make sure they take care when using electrical items like straighteners”.
One way to safeguard your home is to arrange a free home fire safety visit from your local station. These take around 20 minutes and allow fire fighters to pass on practical advice as well as install and test alarm equipment.
To find out more, text FIRE to 61611 or visit www.dontgivefireahome.org.