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Alcohol or drugs caused 835 house fires in Scotland

Fire services across the country and urging people to be aware of the increased risk when drinking.

Fire: The public are reminded of the risks when drinking.
© STV

Alcohol or drugs contributed to 835 house fires in Scotland last year, according to statistics.

Fire services across the country are urging people to be aware of the increased risks when drinking. Eleven people died and 248 were injured in such incidents last year.

The Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) said even a few glasses of wine or beer can dramatically increase the risks of an accidental fire. It is encouraging homeowners to take extra care in light of the approaching bank holiday weekends and summer months.

CFOA chairman David Dalziel said: "Regretfully, alcohol consumption still plays a major part in influencing people's behaviours and their ability to respond. The reality is that being under the influence of alcohol can affect your ability to escape should a fire occur, even with moderate consumption.

"All too often our crews are faced with the horrific effects of fires where alcohol has been a contributory factor. We urge people not to put themselves or others at risk by smoking or cooking at home when they've had a drink."

The Fire Statistics Scotland 2010-11 report shows 835 fires had drug or alcohol impairment as a contributory factor. Strathclyde accounted for almost half of the incidents with 411 fires.

The CFOA said the most common causes of fire where alcohol is involved are cigarettes, lighters, matches and cooking.

Of the 6336 house fires in Scotland last year, 40 people lost their lives and around 1100 people were injured. Almost half of the properties involved did not have a working smoke alarm.

Mr Dalziel said: "It's important to have working smoke alarms fitted and know what the escape plan for the property is. Your local fire and rescue service provide free home fire safety advice. Please ask for it."

The CFOA issued a checklist for people to follow which includes getting smoke alarms tested, making sure all cigarettes are properly stubbed out and avoiding cooking when under the influence of alcohol.

Homeowners can also request a free 20-minute home fire safety visit from local officers who will check the property for hazards and fit a smoke alarm for free if required.

People can text FIRE to 61611 to request a visit or log on to dontgivefireahome.org for advice.

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