FIRE chiefs have been targeting over 50s single males with safety messages following two tragic deaths in the Wee County.

The two deaths came as Clacks saw an increase in accidental dwelling fires between April 2020 and March this year with people confined to their homes during lockdown months.

The statistics were put into context by Mark Bryce, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area manager, who presented the figures to Clackmannanshire Council's Partnership and Performance Committee last Thursday, October 28.

Domestic fires caused accidentally increased to 54 from 40 the year before and sadly resulted in two fatal casualties following three years of no deaths in this category.

The number of domestic non-fatal casualties also went up to 21, although these could include minor things, for instance firefighters administering a bit of oxygen on the scene.

Mr Bryce told the committee: “Both of these fatalities were elderly gentleman and both involved cooking.”

As part of prevention work, the fire service has been driving forward its Home Fire Safety Visits scheme for a number of years, but this was impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.

It meant much of the activity had to be carried out remotely although procedures were put in place to enable visits to those deemed to be at the highest risk.

A sense of normality has since been restored with Mr Bryce adding: “We quickly identified procedures that would keep our own personnel and the public safe and we identified a new group of very high risk members of the public, who were males over 50 and who had habits of smoking and drinking alcohol.

“We made them a priority to contact and complete the home fire safety visit.”

Due to the rise in the number of home fires in April last year, the Serious Fire Task Group was set up by the fire service.

This group is responsible for the production of a quarterly report on fire fatalities in a bid to assist with community safety engagement activities.

Responding to a question by Cllr Donald Balsillie, the area manager for Clacks, Stirling and Fife added: “I was part of that task group to look at each one of those incidents to identify any trends and that's where we identified the very high risk group for home fire safety visits.

“Male, over 50, alcohol, smoking, living on their own – they are the very high risk group we identified.”

To request a free home fire safety visit, people can call 0800 0731 999 or text “FIRE” to 80800.

To refer a person, visit for more information.