New figures have revealed the north east is the worst place in the north of Scotland for sheltered housing fires.
The statistics, which were obtained by the Press and Journal through Freedom of Information requests, show that, in 2016 in Aberdeenshire, there were 55 fires in sheltered housing.
In Aberdeen, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) attended 36 fires, while in Moray and Highlands, there were only six fires in sheltered housing complexes in each region.
Aberdeenshire does have the highest number of sheltered housing complexes in the region at 56, while Aberdeen has 39 such facilities, Moray 11 and the Highlands 41.
Commenting on the figures Gordon Riddel, SFRS’s Group Manager for Prevention and Protection in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, said: “We work with our Health and Social Care partners to provide support and guidance to people – including those within sheltered housing accommodation.
“We provide advice on safe cooking and promote the use of microwaves for those living with dementia.
“The service is here to help everyone stay safe within their homes, but we are particularly keen to support the most vulnerable and elderly within our communities.
“That is why we appeal to everyone to check if their elderly relatives, friends or neighbours are in need of this support and contact us directly.”
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Anne Stirling, said: “We take the health and safety of our tenants very seriously and have robust procedures in place for alerting the emergency services and dealing with any wider issues a call-out might raise.
“Thankfully, the vast majority of these incidents relate to lower level matters that have triggered a smoke alarm, such as burnt toast, rather than serious fires.
“We have a very strong relationship with the SFRS and are grateful for their swift action that prevents incidents becoming much more serious, and fire safety education will remain an important part of our work with tenants.”
Arthur Forbes, the vice-chairman of the Grampian Senior Citizens Forum, added: “It is very worrying that the number for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen in 2016 is so high.
“This issue should be looked at by the relevant authorities because the numbers are too high.”