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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Marie Sharp

One in ten East Lothian council homes waiting for new life-saving fire alarms

More than one in ten council homes in East Lothian have not been fitted with the new life-saving fire alarm systems.

The Scottish Government introduced new rules requiring all homes in Scotland have the interactive fire systems, which trigger a house-wide alarm in the case of an emergency, in place by February 1 this year.

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However the impact of Covid on staffing and access to homes have been cited as a reason for delays in East Lothian Council installing the systems into all of its 8,981 homes before the deadline.

Neighbouring Midlothian Council meanwhile said it had installed the system in all of around 7,000 of its properties.

The Scottish Government said the new interlinked alarms communicate with each other so that a fire in one room sets off alarms throughout the property, giving people more time to escape and call emergency services.

Housing secretary Shona Robison, MSP, announced additional funding for Care and Repair Scotland would be made available to help elderly and disabled people install the systems to ensure cost was "not a barrier" to the new system.

She said: "We’re introducing these new standards because interlinked fire alarms will save more lives.

"One death from fire is one too many, but tragically last year alone 44 people died in house fires in Scotland.

"We would encourage all home-owners to install the alarms as soon as they are able – long life battery-powered interlinked alarms are as easy to install as traditional standalone ones."

East Lothian Council said it had completed installations at 7845 homes with 1136 still to be done.

A spokesperson said: “Despite the extreme challenges the pandemic has caused in gaining access to tenants’ homes as well as staff absences and shortage of supplies, East Lothian Council has successfully completed the installation of the new fire detection alarms in 87.4% of council properties.

"The team is continuing to prioritise the installation of the remaining 12.6% and will complete these as soon as practicable.

"The legislation provides flexibility for the fitting of alarms in due course if it has not been possible to do so before the February 2022 deadline.”

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