Partnership agreement aims to save Highland lives

A partnership agreement signed today by representatives of the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service (HIFRS) and The Highland Council’s Housing and Property Service aims to save the lives of homeless people in the Highlands.

This new fire safety initiative will see Council officers referring tenants (with their permission) to the Fire Service and arranging for free home fire safety checks. Both organisations have agreed to work together on the planning, training and provision of this potentially life-saving service.

Councillor Margaret Davidson, Chairperson of The Highland Council’s Housing and Social Work Committee said: “The health and safety of our tenants, especially those more vulnerable, who perhaps for reasons of ill health are not able to care for themselves as well is paramount. I am delighted that our housing staff are working with the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that all out tenants have equal opportunities to remain safe in their homes.”

Group Manager for the Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service Graham Robertson said: “ Through this excellent partnership both services are able to reach out and offer free home fire safety checks to a wider audience within our communities which will help to make the Highlands and Islands a safer and better place to live.”

The purpose of the home fire safety checks is to provide tenants with advice and information.  Each visit will normally last around 30 to 45 minutes and the check involves all areas of the property.

Tenants perceived to be vulnerable by The Highland Council will be highlighted as a priority.  The Fire Service also has specific concerns about tenants returning home from hospital after an illness and welcomes Council referrals to visit these tenants as they may be less mobile than previously and thus at higher risk.

Fire Officers can provide information and training about the type of situation that they feel might indicate a risk and will be advising local housing staff on potential situations to look out for in tenancies.

Referrals will be made on a monthly basis and new tenants will be advised of the home fire safety check service and will be asked for permission to pass on their contact details at the housing sign up interview.

All referrals will be made to the HIFRS Station Manager who will distribute them to local Fire crews.  The Fire Service will then contact the tenant direct to advise then of a date and time for the visit.

The Council and HIFRS will be monitoring the number of referrals and visits carried out in the new service and reviewing the partnership on a quarterly and annual basis.

The Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service offer a free home fire safety check for everyone that lives in the Highlands and Islands area. This service can be accessed by calling the free phone number 08000 121312 or by using the online booking form available by following the community safety website link at

30 Sep 2009