FIRE fighters are urging people to make fire safety a priority this winter after launching a safety tour.
Figures reveal that smokers materials and matches were the mos t common cause of accidental fire deaths last year, and people are being encouraged to book a free home fire safety visit to ensure their houses are properly protected.
Of the 3,032 house fires which occurred throughout Strathclyde in 2010-11, 47 per cent of the homes did not have a working fire alarm or had no alarm at all.
In this same period, 18 people lost their lives and 464 people were hurt or injured.
Assistant chief officer and director of community safety Lewis Ramsay of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fire can happen to anyone at any time.
“That’s why as part of our tour we’re urging people at risk across Strathclyde to ensure they have the right protection in place should the worse happen.
“A home fire safety visit is a quick and easy way to make sure your home is safe.
“It only takes around 20 minutes and involves fire service staff making sure you have sufficient fire alarms that are installed correctly.
“If necessary, they will instal new smoke alarms free of charge”.
Roseanna Cunningham, minister for community safety and legal affairs, said: “The number of lives lost to fire in Scotland has fallen for a third year in a row, but we cannot forget the victims and families affected.
“Every life lost to fire is a tragedy and lessons must be learned to ensure the number of lives lost continues to fall.
“That’s why this campaign is so important.
“We all want our communities to be safe from fire and the Scottish government and Fire and Rescue Services continue to work hard educating people about the risks of fire – be it alcohol consumption, smoking, misuse of electrical appliances, the overloading of electrical sockets or by other means.
“The most important message we can give is not to be complacent and always be on your guard”.
The tour is visiting the Silverburn shopping centre this Thursday.
If you think you could benefit from a free home fire safety visit, text FIRE to 61611 and for fire safety advice log on to www.dontgivefireahome.org.