News Release by HC12080916256


									News Release
Embargoed until 0001hrs, 03 August 2006

 *** Photocall – 1030hrs, Thursday 03 August, Polmadie Fire Station, Calder Street, Glasgow ***

    New campaign aims to drive down number of alcohol-related accidental fires in Scotland

All eight Scottish Fire and Rescue Services joined together today (03 August) to issue a stark warning
on the dangers of fuelling fire with alcohol as new statistics reveal that 24 people lost their lives in
alcohol-related fires in Scotland within the last year (April 2005 – March 2006).

The new campaign, which includes a TV advertisement, has been developed to raise awareness of the
direct link between alcohol misuse and accidental fires and is targeting males aged between 30 and 59,
as statistics show this group is at higher risk of experiencing an accidental alcohol-related fire in the

The campaign aims to shake complacency and drive home the message that just one act of
carelessness whilst under the influence of alcohol could result in someone losing their home, their
possessions and ultimately their life or the life of a family member.

The most common causes of fires where alcohol is a contributory factor, involve the careless use of
cigarettes, lighters and matches or misuse of chip pans and cooking appliances whilst making food.
The advert depicts the potential consequences of these actions, in particular the risk it can place
children under whilst they are asleep in the home.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue had the highest number of fire fatalities in Scotland in the last year, with 15
fire deaths recorded as being directly contributable to alcohol. The campaign launch coincides with the
publication of a new booklet which provides an insight into the issue in the Strathclyde area and
highlights that 58 per cent of all fire fatalities were directly related to alcohol abuse.

Brian Sweeney, Chief Officer of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue and Scottish Community Safety Champion
“Alcohol continues to be the greatest single contributory factor to people dying in accidental dwelling
house fires in Scotland. All too often, we witness the devastating effect fire has on families and
communities and we need to ensure people are aware of the direct connection between alcohol misuse
and fires. No one can afford to be complacent when it comes to fire safety because complacency kills.

“Having a working smoke alarm fitted provides early warning of the onset of fire and greatly increases
the chances of escaping a fire in the home. Fire and Rescue Services across Scotland are working to
ensure households are aware of the importance of having a smoke alarm and we would encourage
people to contact their local fire and rescue service for confidential help and advice.”

Paul Lennie, a 47-year old from Govanhill in Glasgow, experienced the devastating effects of fire after
returning home from a night out last March. His flat, which he had lived in for over 20 years, and all his
belongings were destroyed by an extensive blaze which started in the living room.

Following investigation by fire officials, the official report concluded that the fire was accidental and a
discarded cigarette was the cause.

Mr Lennie said:

“I had been out for the night and returned to my flat with my pal where we sat up till around 3am. I then
went to bed and woke to the smell of burning. As I walked down the stairs, I noticed smoke belching out
from under the living room door and soon realised that my house was exploding around me.

“We were lucky to escape with no injuries, but the fire left me with nothing as I wasn’t properly insured.
I didn’t know what had caused the fire as I’d been drinking at the time, but the effects were completely
devastating and the accident has had a huge impact on my life.”

Jack Law, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland:

“Alcohol Focus Scotland fully supports this campaign which vividly demonstrates the link between
excessive drinking and fatal house fires.

“Being drunk can make you uncoordinated and uninhibited. If you’ve lost control then you’re more likely
to put yourself and your family at risk by causing a fire from cooking or smoking. And being under the
influence of alcohol reduces the chances of you being able to detect and safely escape a fire.
“Our advice is don’t get so drunk that you can’t take care of yourself or your home. Buy food on your
way back from the pub, rather than attempting to cook when you get home, and make sure your
cigarette is properly extinguished before you fall asleep.”

People are being urged to text FIRE to 61611 to request a free home safety check from their local fire
and rescue service or log on to for advice and information on
how to protect your home and your family from the risk of fire.

                                                  - ends -

    For further information, please contact Linda McIntyre at Consolidated on 0131 240 6423/0771
                                890 4734 or email

Notes to editors:

You are invited to send a photographer/reporter/camera crew to a photocall at Polmadie Fire Station,
Calder Street, Glasgow on Thursday 03 August 2006 at 1030hrs.

Photo and interview opportunities:

         Interview with Mr Lennie, who lost his home as a result of an accidental fire
         Interview with Brian Sweeney, Chief Officer, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue
         Interview with Stephen McCaffrey from Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’s Fire Investigation Unit
         Interview with a representative from Alcohol Focus Scotland

Photography from the launch and images from Mr Lennie's flat will be available. Copies of the advert
are available on request.

Alcohol fire death statistics for financial year 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006

Central - Nil
Highlands and Islands - One
Dumfries and Galloway - One
Fife - One
Grampian - One
Lothian and Borders - Two
Tayside - Three
Strathclyde - Fifteen

     The advertising campaign was developed in conjunction with the eight Scottish fire and rescue
      services and will be aired w/c 07 August 2006
     In comparison to the rest of the UK, Scotland has the highest rate of fatal and non-fatal casualties
      per million population
     Three out of four people in Scotland do not perceive their home to be at risk from fire

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