South Yorkshire has recorded its lowest ever number of house fires.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue says it attended 561 accidental house blazes in 2016/17 - an 11 per cent drop on the previous year's figure (629). It's also nearly half the number attended by the fire service 15 years ago (1008). Fire officers say the latest figures are proof that its efforts to make people safer are paying off, with firefighters having carried out nearly 300,000 safety checks in people's homes since 2006.
Staff have also spoken to more than 30,000 children during 2016-17, as part of its education work in schools and the fire service has run successful campaigns targeting older people, electrical and cooking blazes. But to maintain the record low figures, bosses say they need to become even more targeted in their prevention work and for local people, organisations and charities to get more involved.
Head of Prevention Steve Helps, said: "South Yorkshire is safer from house fires now than it has been at any time in its history, but people should never become complacent when it comes to fire safety. Every single incident we do attend is someone's own, personal disaster and, potentially, someone's tragedy.
"That's why we need the help of local people and organisations to support our work. Nearly all of the most serious house fires we attend involve some common issues which are often being dealt with by other agencies, or involve people who are known by neighbours or loved ones to be at higher risk. The fire service can often put in place measures to prevent deaths from fire- but only if an individual is referred to us for support."
Top tips for preventing house fires include:
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Test them regularly.
- Take extra care in the kitchen and never leave cooking unattended.
- Don't overload electric sockets- most can only take a maximum of 13 amps.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children.
- Put out cigarettes properly and dispose of them carefully.
For more information on preventing fires visit www.syfire.gov.uk.