The Orkney Local Emergency Co-ordinating Group is supporting Scotland’s Fire and Rescue Service in urging Orkney communities to stay safe in their homes during the continuing covid-19 pandemic.
The group involves representatives from a broad range of organisations, including the emergency and public services, transport providers, the utilities and voluntary sector, and met virtually today to consider latest developments in the pandemic.
The SFRS is committed to doing all it can to reduce the risk of fire within the home while people across Scotland remain in social isolation and is encouraging people to not leave cooking unattended, test their smoke alarms regularly and to avoid alcohol when preparing meals.
Orkney Station Commander Dougie Campbell said: "Cooking remains the single biggest cause of fires locally, but as people continue to spend more time indoors we may see the risk from other sources come through.
"That is why we are asking people who are spending more time at home to please use electrical devices safely, on hard surfaces and to always unplug before bed.
“Keep testing smoke alarms at least once a week, plan and practice your fire escape plan, and take care while cooking – for example avoid cooking while under the influence of alcohol and try to avoid becoming distracted.”
The SFRS is also warning of the dangers of allowing rubbish and waste to build up in and around the house or essential businesses, as well as the dangers of burning excess waste.
SC Campbell said: “If you can, store your waste such as cardboard, wood, or packaging in a safe, locked location such as a garage or shed, if you must store it outdoors – keep it away from the property if possible.
“If you are keeping anything inside, store it away from heat sources and open flames, or electrical outlets and equipment.
"Where possible, we would recommend you avoid lighting a bonfire to dispose of garden waste or other items - there is a great risk of fire spread and damage to the environment."
There have been reports of fires starting from fly tipped items. If you find items fly tipped please report these to Dumb Dumpers or call the Stopline on 08452304090.
For more information on Fly tipping click here.
SC Campbell continued: “Fires in rubbish can be started by many things – such as warm embers or smoke ash.
“However, many are started deliberately – we are also asking everyone to ensure that they and everyone in the household including the young people in their lives are aware of the potentially devastating consequences of setting a fire.
“It can endanger lives, destroy family homes and while we continue to respond to respond to 999 calls, it could unnecessarily draw upon SFRS resources at this time of national emergency."
We also want to remind the public that people should only travel if absolutely essential.
Travel restrictions have not been relaxed and people should exercise from their home address and not to be driving to beaches or beauty spots.
The public are reminded that they should not be gathering with persons from different households and should not be visiting family and friends.
Anyone breaching these regulations can be issued with a fine and if you are aware of people breaching the regulations then please contact Police Scotland on 101. More information can be found here.