A third of Midlothian homes involved in fires had no smoke alarms

Tuesday June 13th 2023

Midlothian View Fire Engine

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A third of Midlothian homes where accidental house fires broke out in the first few months of this year did not have a working smoke alarm, it has been revealed.

More than a year after the Scottish Government introduced new laws requiring all houses to have interlinked fire alarms installed, fire crews are still finding people living without them.

A report by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service this week reveals that call outs to accidental fires had reached a five year high during 2022/23 with nearly 200 incidents.

And in the first three months of this year crews attended 34 of the incidents with nine in people’s homes.

The report says: “Of the nine accidental dwelling fires attended, 33% occurred in single occupancy households.

“The main cause of fire was overheating of appliances, cooking and items being too close to a heat source.

“Unfortunately, 33% of the domestic properties did not have working smoke alarms fitted at the time of the fire.”

Over the year 198 accidental fires were attended with the highest number in Dalkeith and Midlothian West wards and the fewest just 14 in Bonnyrigg.

Fire chiefs say they carried out nearly 199 home fire safety visit checks between January and March this year to provide advice and support to people.

The report which goes before the council’s police and fire and rescue board on Thursday, revealed the number of false alarms recorded in the last year had fallen from 761 in 2021/22 to 670.

It said fire crews attended 145 false alarms in the first three months of this year, which was a decrease on the same period last year.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has said that from July 1 it will no longer attend automatic fire alarm (AFA) call outs to commercial business and workplace premises, such as factories, offices, shops and leisure facilities – unless a fire has been confirmed.

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