Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 13:38 GMT on Tuesday, 6th November 2012.
A quiet Bonfire Night for the emergency services

STRATHCLYDE Fire and Rescue is urging the public to join the fight against fire and ensure every home has at least one working fire alarm, with residents asked to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit for themselves or someone they think could benefit. The call to action comes after a bonfire weekend in which several major incidents in Lanarkshire caused injury to people and damage to property.

Firefighters rescued 10 people from a block of flats in East Kilbride during the early hours of yesterday morning (Sunday, November 4). Members of the public made repeated 999 calls as appliances from East Kilbride and Clydesmill Community Fire Stations rushed to the scene.

Strathclyde Fire & Rescue crews discovered the second floor engulfed in flames, with residents trapped in the properties above. The incident commander immediately committed firefighters wearing breathing apparatus into the building, taking hose reel jets with them.

Firefighters quickly dealt with the blaze and then made contact with the occupants of the flats before leading them down to safety. The crews gave two men oxygen therapy before they were taken by ambulance to Hairmyres Hospital, suffering from moderate smoke inhalation.

The cause of the blaze is still unknown and is the subject of a joint investigation by Strathclyde Police and Strathclyde Fire & Rescue.

A second incident saw a 16-year-old girl suffer moderate smoke inhalation after a fire at a children’s home in Airdrie. The fire broke out shortly after 4pm.

Crews from across North Lanarkshire were scrambled with appliances from Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Community Fire Stations all involved at the scene. Four firefighters in full breathing apparatus entered the building to battle the blaze, using two high-pressure hose reel jets in an effort to douse the flames.

The girl was removed from the building and taken by ambulance to Monklands General Hospital. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

Two men were rescued from a second Airdrie blaze little over an hour later, as appliances from Bellshill and Easterhouse Community Fire Stations raced to a house fire on Wellside Avenue. Four Strathclyde Fire & Rescue personnel again donned full breathing apparatus to enter the burning building.

An elderly male and a youth were removed from the house and taken by ambulance to Monklands General Hospital, where they were treated for severe smoke inhalation. The fire, which started in the kitchen, could have ended in tragedy.

In the wake of the incidents, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue is pleading with the public to help the service protect communities from fire.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay, Director of Community Safety, said: “Incidents like these in Lanarkshire show how quickly fire can spread and the importance of every home having a working fire alarm. The fire service wants to hear from anyone who thinks they could benefit from some free fire safety advice.

“Often many small things increase the risk of a fire taking hold and some simple advice will help protect residents. Firefighters are happy to assess a property for risk and help residents ensure they are not at added risk of fire.

“Our crews will be happy to arrange to visit at a time that suits you and they’re only interested in giving advice on how to prevent a fire. To arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit for yourself – or for a vulnerable neighbour, friend or relative – please get in touch and join the fight against fire.”

For a free Home Fire Safety Visit, all you have to do is call the Home fire Safety Hotline on 0800 0731 999, or text "check" to 61611. You can also get in touch by calling your local community fire station and more information is available on the Strathclyde Fire & Rescue website.

In addition to the fire alarm plea Strathclyde Fire and Rescue have announced that the partnership between the public, firefighters, police and local authorities helped ensure there were no major incidents on Bonfire Night, resulting in fewer incidents in the lead-up to November 5th.

Clear weather after a rain-filled weekend saw a rise in the number of incidents on Bonfire Night itself, but the fire service is pleased with the public response. Firefighters thanked communities for alerting them to unsafe bonfires, which allowed the service to take swift action to prevent damage to property and danger to life.

Assistant Chief Officer David Goodhew, Director of Operations for the fire service, said: “Strathclyde Fire & Rescue urged the public to choose organised events this year and I’m grateful to everyone who did just that. They helped protect their communities from fire.

“We have been working extremely closely with our partners in the local authorities and the police to ensure community safety. I am delighted with the response of the public, who have alerted the fire service to unsafe bonfires and helped ensure we could deal with them before anyone was injured.”

By midnight Strathclyde Fire & Rescue had been called to 763 incidents, of which 370 were bonfires. Crews responded to concerns from residents about potentially dangerous fires across Strathclyde.

In previous years, Bonfire Night saw the fire service responded to three times the normal number of incidents. While Strathclyde Fire & Rescue always provided communities with their usual level of expert protection, firefighters want the public’s help to prevent delays caused by crews and appliances attending careless bonfires.

Mr Goodhew added: “Strathclyde Fire & Rescue has always worked to ensure every community has full incident cover at all times, but obviously having to send firefighters to bonfires means a potential delay in their getting to other emergencies. The number of call-outs this year shows the public have decided to join the fight against fire and communities across Strathclyde are safer as a result.”





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