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Firefighters scramble to help with smoke alarms

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
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Firefighters scramble to help with smoke alarms

FIREFIGHTERS have been scrambling around to help high-risk elderly residents in Dumfries and Galloway with their smoke alarm dilemma.

Pensioners and vulnerable people throughout the region have been caught out by the Scottish Government’s new legislation requiring interlinked fire alarms, due to an average installation cost of £220, rising energy prices, and confusion over the legislation.

The matter was discussed at Wednesday’s Nithsdale Area Committee, which was attended by councillors and Dumfries fire and rescue station commander Andy Wilson.

Asking the fire chief for an update, council leader Elaine Murray said: “There’s quite a lot of concern that people were unaware of the legislation and might not be getting the alarms fitted, and indeed then their home insurance might not be valid.”

He replied: “We are trying our best to attend any high-risk premises that have been flagged up to us through our fire safety visits or partner referrals.

“In terms of the legislation, it’s a difficult one for the fire service because it’s not enforceable from our side as it’s domestic.

“We don’t have anything we can add, other than giving advice to members of the public. It’s obviously a Scottish Government initiative that we’re trying to support as best as we can.”

Every home in Scotland is now required to have one smoke alarm in the most frequently used room, one in every circulation space on each storey, and a heat alarm in each kitchen.

A carbon monoxide detector must also be installed where there is a boiler, fire or flue, although this does not need to be linked to the fire alarms.

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