HC Deb 27 October 1993 vol 230 cc691-2W
Mrs. Ewing

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish statistics relating to the number of injuries or deaths resulting from fires in the home in each of the last five years; what estimate he has made of the number of such instances in which injury or death might have been avoided had a smoke alarm been installed; what information is available regarding the number of hearing impaired people involved in such incidents; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

[holding answer 25 October 1993]: The annual Home Office publication "Fire Statistics United Kingdom", copies of which are held in the Library, includes numbers of fatalities and non-fatal casualties in Scotland arising from fires in occupied buildings including dwellings. No information is available on the number of hearing impaired people involved in such incidents.

In his annual report for 1992, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services for Scotland recorded the view of fire brigade officers that in 63 of the 92 dwelling fires involving fatalities which occurred in Scotland in 1992 the installation of a properly maintained smoke alarm system could have given an early warning of the outbreak of fire to which the occupants could have responded.

In the same report Her Majesty's chief inspector estimated that some 60 per cent. of Scottish dwellings are fitted with smoke alarms. The Scottish Building Regulations require the installation of a hard wire smoke alarm system in the construction of all new houses. The Government, recognising that the cost of a smoke alarm is small compared with the benefits offered in providing early warning of the outbreak of fire, continue to promote and encourage the installtion and maintenance of smoke alarms in homes throughout Scotland.

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