As part of Fire Safety Week 2015 (5-11 October) Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is urging the public to be fire safe in their home. Last year (2014/15) NIFRS attended 923 accidental house fires and unfortunately 8 people lost their lives in accidental house fires. While the biggest cause of accidental house fires is smoking materials – cigarettes, pipes, matches and lighters – fires can start for a variety of reasons such as cooking left unattended, faulty electrical appliances, candles etc.
Fire Safety is everyone’s responsibility and we all have a duty to keep ourselves and those we live with safe from the dangers of fire. This means being aware of the causes of fire and taking steps to avoid that danger, making sure there is a working smoke alarm fitted in the house and that everyone in the house knows the fire escape plan.
NIFRS carries out free Home Fire Safety Checks and last year Firefighters across Northern Ireland did 6,958 Home Fire Safety Checks and fitted 5,146 smoke alarms in people’s homes.
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said – “Through our Home Fire Safety Check (HFSC) programme we are keen to reach those people most vulnerable and at greatest risk of having an accidental fire in their home. There are a number of influencing factors which determine a person who may be at a higher risk from fire. These factors include if the householder is a smoker, has an alcohol / drug / substance abuse history, if they live alone, if they are aged over 65, if they have mobility issues or a sensory impairment.
“Anyone can request a HFSC on behalf of a neighbour or family member and we encourage the public to do so to help us identify those people at highest risk from a house fire. Our job is to protect people from the dangers of fire and if we can intervene at an early stage with life-saving fire safety advice then we can help reduce the risk of a fire starting. We are also working with other agencies and through our own risk profiling data to identify the most vulnerable people who could benefit from a Home Fire Safety Check.”
To showcase a Home Fire Safety Check Firefighters visited Angie McManus from the New Lodge, Belfast and carried out a Home Fire Safety Check, which included testing her smoke alarm. Angie McManus said – “The Firefighers were extremely professional and friendly. They explained all the potential fire risks in my home and gave me lots of good fire safety advice. They made sure my smoke alarm was working and showed me how to test it. They also talked to me about the need to have a night time fire safety routine and helped me make a fire escape plan so that I know what to do in the event of a fire. It was a really useful visit and I am definitely more aware of the causes of fire.”
For a Home Fire Safety Check contact NIFRS on 02892 600477 or submit a request via the NIFRS website http://www.nifrs.org/fire-safety/free-home-fire-safety-check/. Further Fire Safety Advice can also be found by following us on Facebook and Twitter.