Fire Service tips on keeping safe during floods and power cuts

As the public will be aware Storm Frank has brought a period of windy and very wet weather across Scotland creating misery to many of our communities over the past couple of days.

There was a high demand for all emergency services across the country in particular in Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire, the Borders, Tayside and Aberdeenshire.

Through an on-going review of incident activity the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) were able to strategically position specialist flood and water rescue resources to enable a continued support to the local communities and reduce the impact of flooding on domestic and commercial properties.

During the last 24hours, the SFRS received 675 emergency calls which resulted in 379 attended incidents. Of these incidents over 70% were flood and water rescue related.

Although these have been testing times for all our emergency services, the SFRS along with other partner agencies will continue to provide an effective emergency response to all types of emergencies including any future flooding and water rescue incidents.

During any period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so they can plan ahead for the weather in store.

The main risks normally associated with weather patterns such as this are flooding and loss of power due to the wind and rain. As a result the public may find themselves in a situation where their homes are affected. The Fire Service would like to remind anyone who finds themselves without power or water entering the home that they can take a few simple steps to ensure, they are not placed in any additional risk from fire.

When using candles never leave them unattended and make sure you blow them out when you leave the house or go to bed. Make sure that when in use, candles are secured in a proper holder and away from materials that may catch fire – like curtains, Christmas trees, decorations and toys. Other tips include:

• Children and pets should not be left alone with lit candles.

• Put candles out when you leave the room, and make sure they’re put out completely at night.

• Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.

• Don’t move candles once they are lit

• Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use.

• Do not burn several candles close together as this might cause flaring (mainly with tea-lights).

• Always make sure tea-lights are placed in a proper holder. The foil container which tea lights come in can get very hot. They can melt through plastic, such as a bath, and have the potential to start a house fire.

• Use a snuffer or a spoon to put out candles. It’s safer than blowing them out when embers can fly.

The public can get further information on safety when using candles by using the link below:

http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/festive-safety/candles.aspx

If your home suffers a loss of power or is flooded and you are using portable heaters to heat or dry out your home here are some simple tips to keep you safe:

• Keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.

• Unplug or switch off portable heaters when you go out or go to bed.

• Secure portable heaters in position to avoid the risk of them being knocked over.

• Only use gas or paraffin heaters in well-ventilated areas. Heaters consume oxygen and in enclosed spaces can produce harmful gases and/or cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

• Fit a Carbon Monoxide detector in all rooms containing gas or paraffin heaters.

• Never use portable gas cylinder heaters in high rise flats

• Always change gas cylinders in the open air. Never change gas cylinders in an enclosed space.

SFRS would like you to have a very happy, safe Christmas and New Year. If you or someone you know is vulnerable or may be at risk from fire please get in touch and arrange a FREE home fire safety visit with local firefighters by calling 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk

A wide range of tips on how to keep yourself and your home safe from fire are available on the SFRS website: www.firescotland.gov.uk/winter