Emergency services in the north-east have launched a new campaign to encourage residents to test their smoke detection equipment at home regularly.
Fire crews across Aberdeenshire and Moray will soon begin to distribute brand new testing sticks, which people can use to safely check if their smoke alarms are in order on a daily basis.
A total of 500 sticks have been donated to the service by Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership and the Formartine and Garioch Safety Partnership.
The aim of the new initiative is to spread the message about the importance of regularly testing smoke detection equipment in private properties.
Our aim is to provide a safe environment for occupants.”
The scheme also ties with the service’s current campaign Make The Call – a hard-hitting appeal to communities to save a life by arranging free home safety visits for vulnerable people, who are at high risk of accidental house fires.
Craig Shand, station commander for prevention and protection in Aberdeenshire and Moray, said: “Our aim is to provide a safe environment for occupants.
“One of the main things we promote in order to do that is the free home fire safety visits, where we can check people’s smoke detection equipment, ask a few questions and make sure that everybody in the property is aware of what to do in case of a fire emergency.”
He added: “These testing sticks are a piece of equipment that everybody can use to safely test their smoke detectors, and such will be given out to occupants during our visits.
“We actively encourage people to test their alarms once a week.”
“Collaboration between us and the local community is key”
Due to the lockdown restrictions in the last few months, home safety visits have only been allowed to replace a faulty detector or to install a new one.
However, as the country is slowly returning back to normality, fire crews and members of the community action team can now resume providing their vital service on a regular basis.
Paul Berrisford, station commander for Formartine and Garioch area, added: “The free home safety visits are probably the biggest thing for us, because it’s an opportunity for us to go out, engage with the community and educate people.
“The most important message we want to send across is for everybody to test their smoke alarm weekly and if somebody has a neighbour, friend or a relative in that high-risk category, to make the call and arrange a fire safety visit for them.”
He added: “We have seen a slight increase in accidental dwelling fires, but what we are finding is, that all of these incidents have been dealt with in the early stages, because the smoke detectors have done their job and alerted the occupants.
“This only emphasises the importance of having a working smoke detector and we strongly encourage everybody to get a stick and check their alarm weekly.”
The new testing sticks will be offered to occupants during home safety visit carried out by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in Aberdeenshire and Moray.
Alternatively, people can also acquire one by contacting their local fire station.