Put fire safety at the top of your New Year resolutions list

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Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is asking everyone to make home fire safety their top resolution this year, to help protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fire.

Although Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service welcomes the reduction in both the number of accidental dwelling fires across Northern Ireland and the number of accidental fire deaths in 2014 compared to the previous year, we are urging the public not to become complacent about fire safety at home.

In total, there were 466 accidental dwelling fires in 2013 and this was reduced by 43 to 423 in 2014. Tragically, there were 9 accidental fire deaths in 2013 and 8 people lost their lives in accidental fires in 2014.

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said: “One accidental fire death is one too many and we want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities in Northern Ireland due to accidental houses fires. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving that.

“By routinely completing a number of simple fire safety steps, you can drastically reduce the risk of a fire in your home this year and beyond.

“Getting into the habit of checking your smoke alarms are working may just save your life.. Every year Firefighters in Northern Ireland are called to fires in homes where smoke alarms are fitted, but are not working properly. Check they are working once a week by pressing the button. A working smoke alarm will provide you and your family with an early warning to fire in the house to give you the best possible chance to escape.

“Plan your escape route. Everyone should know what to do in a fire. If a fire occurs at night your escape will be hindered by dark or difficult conditions. If you have already planned an escape route and everyone knows what to do, escaping safely will be much easier.

“No-one is immune to the danger of fire and fire does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone of us. Fire deaths and injuries cause a lifetime of pain and suffering, and in 2015 we will be continuing with our work to help reduce such tragedies through our community engagement initiatives. However, we need the support of the public in helping us drive down the number of incidents our Firefighters attend by taking personal responsibility for their own fire safety in the home to STOP fire.

“We offer a Free Home Fire Safety Check, whereby local Firefighters will visit your home to carry out a fire safety check. Firefighters will check for appliances that could cause fire, help with any actions to avoid fire and most importantly ensure that your smoke alarm is working. If necessary, we will fit a free smoke alarm for you. It could prove to be the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made.

“Remember to make fire safety in the home the one New Year’s resolution you never break – it could save you and your family’s life.”

To arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check call 028 9260 0477, Text phone/ Minicom 028 9262 8800 or go to our website www.nifrs.org for further information.