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More than 40 percent of fire-hit homes in Aberdeenshire never had a smoke alarm

By Kirsty Brown

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More than 40 percent of all house fires in Aberdeenshire happened in homes where there were no smoke alarms fitted, new figures reveal.

Figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives show smoke detectors were not present in 69 out of 167 houses across the region where fires occurred in 2019/20 – the highest percentage of any area in mainland Scotland.

A further 12 fires happened in homes where alarms were fitted but did not operate while another seven happened in houses where detectors had worked but the alarm wasn’t raised with the emergency services.

Meanwhile there were 81 blazes in houses across Aberdeen where smoke alarms weren’t fitted, representing 27.8 percent of all fires in the area, 25 in Moray (30.5 percent), 26 in Angus (29.2 percent) and 36 in Dundee (19.3 percent).

North-east MSP Peter Chapman said: “It’s extremely worrying that Aberdeenshire has the highest number of fires in homes where smoke alarms weren’t fitted in mainland Scotland.

“There is a clear problem in Aberdeenshire at a time where additional risks are likely to be created with people spending more time at home this year than normal.

“It’s vital steps are taken by people to protect themselves and their families which is why smoke alarms should be tested regularly - this could be the difference between life and death.

“The Scottish Government has a duty to ensure people are aware of the rules and regulations around fire alarms and the safety benefits they bring to homes.”

Scottish Conservative candidate for Banffshire and Buchan Coast in the 2021 Holyrood elections, Mark Findlater, said: “I was shocked at the figures for Aberdeenshire and encourage everyone to check their homes to see if smoke alarms are fitted and working.

“Smoke detectors save lives and reduce the extent of damage caused.

“The Scottish Government must act on these figures and work with our dedicated fire service in ensuring awareness is raised about the dangers of not having smoke alarms fitted.”

North-east MSP Bill Bowman said: “In relation to the Dundee fires, for 18 of the 104 smoke alarms to not operate is very worrying.

“Smoke alarms are not for show – they should be in working order at all times.

“An alarm could be the difference between life and death and these figures highlight how important it is to regularly check the devices.

“It’s up to the homeowner to do this – there is only so much the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service can do to get this important message across before it’s too late.”

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