North-east fire chiefs have issued a warning of the risks from an accidental fire sparked by cooking, particularly after a night out.
The reminder about the possible dangers comes after four recent incidents of cooking-related blazes were reported to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in the North, including several chip pan incidents.
No one was hurt as a result of any of these incidents, but the fire service say they serve as a timely reminder to people not to cook late at night, particularly if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Service’s Local Senior Officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, David Rout said: “Cooking is the biggest cause of house fires in Scotland.
“If you’re tired, have been drinking, or taking drugs, you will be less alert to the signs of fire and potentially slower to react in an emergency.
“You are more likely to fall asleep, particularly after drinking alcohol.
“You are less likely to wake up if a fire does start, especially if you don’t have working smoke alarms in your home.
Smoke from a fire is highly toxic and can overcome people in minutes.
“If fire does break out, alcohol or drugs can heighten feelings of disorientation, making it difficult for you to raise the alarm effectively and escape safely.”
Mr Rout added that he would encourage residents to buy food on their way back from the pub, rather than attempting to cook when they get home.
Preparing cold food at home is also a safer option.
He said: “Having working smoke detectors in your home is vital to give early warning if fire does break out.
“Test them every week. You should also have an escape plan so you know exactly what to do if the worst happens.
“Our local firefighters can help you be fire safe with a free Home Fire Safety Visit.
“They will fit free smoke alarms as required, discuss any specific fire concerns you might have and help you make an escape plan.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about booking a free home fire safety visit should text “fire” to 61611, or call 0800 0731 999, or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk