While having suitable landlord insurance will help to protect you financially should a fire occur at your property, fire-fighters from the Grampian Fire and Rescue team have embarked on a regional tour to remind homeowners and residents about the importance of fire safety in order to prevent problems before they happen.

As part of the national Don't Give Fire a Home campaign, the Grampian crew is raising awareness by setting up an informative display in busy areas. According to the Forres Gazette, this includes a glass box containing the contents of a burnt-out living room that demonstrates quite clearly just how devastating a fire can be.

Passersby will be offered free Home Fire Safety Visits to help ensure their homes are adequately protected, and they will also be reminded to check their smoke alarms on a regular basis.

According to the fire department, of the 657 house fires that occurred in Grampian in 2011-2012, a surprising 46 per cent didn't have a working smoke alarm. Sadly, four people lost their lives due to fire in the same period, while another 118 suffered some sort of injury.

Mike Cordiner, station manager for Grampian Fire and rescue, said that they were urging people to make fire safety a priority this winter.

He explained that people should install smoke detectors and test them on a weekly basis. "Working smoke alarms are the most effective way of promoting early warning of the onset of fire, and too often, we attend fires where smoke alarms are absent or not working," he said.

Meanwhile, Roseanna Cunningham, minister for community safety and legal affairs, commented that the Scottish government and fire and rescue services are endeavouring to educate people across the country about how to better protect themselves from fire.

"The most important message we can give is never be complacent and always be on your guard, particularly when smoking or drinking alcohol," she said.

According to Ms Cunningham, smoking was the cause of one in twelve house fires in 2011-2012, while alcohol or drugs were factors in an estimated one in six fires. Meanwhile cooking accidents, misusing electrical appliances and overloading electrical sockets have also been cited as major risks.