Landlords and brigade join forces to cut accidental house fires

AN initiative which aims to cut the number of accidental house fires in the Borders has been launched.

The campaign, signed off at Galashiels Fire Station, includes an agreement involving Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service (LBFRS) and all four of the region’s major registered social landlords – Scottish Borders Housing Association, Eildon, Waverley and Berwickshire.

The arrangements have been designed to ensure new and existing tenants of the housing associations can benefit from a free home safety visit by local firefighters.

Tenants who are identified as being more at risk than others will be specially targeted for assistance as the initiative has two aims: to reduce fire risk to tenants and to cut the repair bill for fire damaged properties.

Group Commander Scott Forbes of LBFRS, told us: “We been running a home safety visit programme since 2004 with operational crews offering free safety advice and fitting smoke detectors where required. This joint initiative will see us extend our free home visit service to new and existing tenants.

“We will put in place a home safety visit referral process for all new housing association tenants. Plans are also in place to extend the opportunity to existing housing tenants as appropriate and develop a referral process for persons at risk.

“The aim of the programme is to see every household in the region with a working smoke detector, giving occupants early warning of a fire and allowing them crucial time to escape the building.”

The housing associations will offer new tenants a home safety visit through their tenant welcome packs with referrals then processed through local fire stations. The landlords acknowledge they have a duty to ensure there is satisfactory provision for detecting and giving warning of fire in all their properties.

If appropriate, the housing association will be notified by the LBFRS of any significant concerns from a home safety visit, such as the the identification of tenants who are judged particularly vulnerable to the likelihood of an accidental fire.

In such cases, the tenant may receive an enhanced home safety visit, with extra precautionary measures put in place free of charge.

To book a free home safety visit call 0800 169 0320.