Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is urging homeowners across Northern Ireland to stay Fire Safe and Winter Ready during the festive period.
During the Christmas period last year (19 December 2014 – 6 January 2015), 37 people were injured in accidental house fires compared to 28 people injured during the previous year.
Fire Crews responded to 1,402 emergency incidents compared to 1,505 incidents and attended 62 accidental house fires across Northern Ireland, compare to 47 accidental house fires in the previous year. Firefighters were able to rescue 12 people during these incidents but tragically one person lost their life last year.
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said:
“Christmas should be a time to increase vigilance with the increase number of fire hazards in the home at this time of year. The festive season is traditionally a busy period for Firefighters, but we are well prepared to handle a wide range of emergencies to protect the local community. It is essential that everyone is aware of the precautions to take to stay fire safe.
“Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service will also be launching its new Christmas Fire Safety advertising campaign, which underlines these key messages. It is important to reach all members of the local community through various media platforms to raise awareness of the importance to being safe at home. A new television advertisement, as well as Fire Safety leaflets will be highlighting the risks associated with the Christmas period.”
“Make sure that all Christmas lights conform to the British Standard and are turned off when leaving home. Never overload plug sockets and remember that a candle is a naked flame, so don’t leave them burning unattended or near decorations. As most fires start in the kitchen, make sure the cooker is never left unattended. It’s also an important time of year to remember our ‘STOP Fire’ check list: Smoke alarms fitted on each floor; Test them on a weekly basis; Obvious dangers removed and Plan your escape route. These easy to remember steps enable everyone to quickly decide what actions they need to take to help keep fire safe.
“As the darker nights and colder weather descends across Northern Ireland, many people are isolated inside their homes. If you live beside an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, please give consideration to their wellbeing and provide them with assistance to remain safe. If they don’t have a working smoke alarm, you can arrange for a free Home Fire Safety Check. Trained personnel will check smoke alarms and provide advice on planning a suitable escape route if a fire started at home.
“We are encouraging everyone to take simple but sensible steps to stay fire safe, so that more people across Northern Ireland have a happy Christmas.”