Borders worst area in Scotland for chip pan fires

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BERWICKSHIRE MSP John Lamont has highlighted the need for an awareness campaign after national statistics published earlier this week show the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade force area was the one with the highest number of chip pan fires last year, accounting for 22.7 per cent of all blazes attended by firefighters in the region.

In 2011, 10.4% of fires nationwide were caused by chip pans, compared with 9.6% in the previous two years.

The figures, although reduced by more than two-thirds over the past 10 years, have prompted the Scottish Conservatives to call for an awareness campaign after they said they were “cause for concern.”

Calling for prevenative action, John Lamont commented: “These figures are deeply concerning and show that more needs to be done in the Borders to educate people about the dangers of chip pans.

“It is simply unacceptable that so many fires are being caused by a single household device.

“These fires are not only putting people’s lives at risk, but they are also taking up a huge amount of our fire service’s time and effort.

“The Fire Brigades are already under enough pressure as it is, without having to deal with so many avoidable fires.

“When the Lothian and Borders region has 12% more of its fires started by chip pans than the Scottish average it is clear that we need to take action in our local area.

“That is why I think it would only be sensible to start an awareness campaign warning people about the risks of leaving hot chip and food pans unattended.

“We have seen them work in the past and it would only be sensible to bring these campaigns back to the Borders until we can address this problem and reverse this worrying trend.”

A Scottish government spokesman said the fact the figures had reduced by more than two-thirds since 2001/02 indicated “improved awareness of the danger of fire in our homes”.

“However, every house fire is one too many and that is why the Scottish government and fire services continue to work hard educating people about fire prevention measures they can take,” he added.

“The most important message the fire service can give is not to be complacent and always be on your guard.

“We also urge householders to get a smoke alarm and check it regularly to ensure it is in working order - alarms really do save lives.”