IN CLACKMANNANSHIRE, about 70 per cent of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s fire related call-outs turned out to be false alarms in 2014/15.

According to the latest official statistics from the emergency service, there were 187 fires in the Wee County, compared to 211 the year before, but local crews were called to 447 unwanted fire alarm signals (UFAS).

The majority, 339, of the false fire alarms were started by apparatus or equipment, including accidental initiation by persons, and only nine false alarms were raised with a malicious intent.

Local station manager for prevention and protection Alex Hume explained: “UFAS incidents on average cost UK businesses £848 in lost revenue and production, resulting in continual disruptions.

“These type of incidents also have an obvious impact upon the responding fire crews as the appliances are not available for other genuine emergency responses.

“These incidents additionally detract crews from delivering vital community safety programmes and training. Within the Clackmannanshire area, UFAS incidents accounted for approximately 60 per cent of all emergency responses.

“The SFRS continues to engage with duty holders of businesses and other organisations to challenge all fire alarm activations; check records, investigate and record all incidents.”

The Scottish average for false fire alarms is about 66 per cent, the worst local authority was Argyll & Bute with more than 78 per cent and the figure was lowest in Midlothian with 52 per cent.

There were 49 house fires in Clackmannanshire, six of which were deliberate, and eight people suffered injuries in incidents throughout the year, but there were no fatalities.

All together, local crews responded to 726 incidents, nearly two for every day of the year, including fires, road traffic collisions, chemical incidents and flooding.

In addition, firefighters around the county have been proactive in delivering the SFRS Home Fire Safety Programme in partnership with other key agencies.

Across the country, the number of fires went down by 11 per cent, Clackmannanshire has seen a 12 per cent drop.

The station manager added: “Further information on UFAS avoidance, or to arrange a free Home Fire Safety Visit, access the Scottish Fire and Rescue service website

“Home Fire Safety Visits can also be arranged by calling Freephone 0800 0731 999 or text “FIRE” to 80800 from your mobile phone.”