Alcohol has played a contributing role in more than half of the accidental fire deaths in Shropshire over the past six years, a new report has revealed.
Nine of the 17 accidental fire deaths in the county between April 2005 and August 2011 were partly linked to drink, according to figures published by Shropshire Council as part of consultation on its alcohol strategy for 2013 to 2016.
The report said alcohol may have also played a role in some of the 29 deaths that have occurred in the River Severn in the Shrewsbury area since 2005.
“Alcohol is recognised as a significant factor in a high percentage of fires, road traffic collisions and other incidents attended by the fire service,” said the report.
“Actual numbers are difficult to determine because fire service personnel are not trained to identify persons under the influence of alcohol and records only refer to incidents where it has been identified.
“As an example of this the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have identified 40 incidents where people under the influence of alcohol has been significant factor in the cause of the fire or actions as a result of the fire since 2009.
“Additionally, between April 2005 and August 2011, Shropshire has suffered 17 accidental fire deaths – alcohol was a contributory factor in 53 per cent of these deaths.
“Since 2005 there have been 29 deaths occurring in the River Severn in Shrewsbury, some of which may have had alcohol use as a contributory factor.”
As part of Shropshire Council’s proposed alcohol strategy for the next three years, the report suggested that steps be taken to ‘address alcohol related accidental fires’ by closer collaboration between the fire and rescue service and housing and alcohol treatment providers.
This could include home visits and the provision of fire safety information and equipment.
And the report called for new information campaigns about river safety in Shrewsbury.
The consultation has been launched by the council to help finalise its alcohol strategy for the next three years.
People can give their views until November 23.
For more information, visit www.shropshire.gov.uk.