THE Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is urging everyone to begin 2013 with the resolution that they will make fire safety a top priority in their home to help keep themselves and their families safe from the dangers of fire.
Kevin O’Neill, Group Commander with the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, said: “In 2012 tragically 13 people lost their lives in accidental fires in the home. One death due to fire is one too many and we want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities in Northern Ireland due to accidental house fires and we remain unwavering in our commitment to that.
“We want to remind those people who may have become complacent about fire safety habits to make this a priority in 2013. 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.
“98% of households in Northern Ireland now have a smoke alarm fitted, however they need to be tested every week to ensure they are working – that’s the only way they can help save lives. Check that your smoke alarm is working by pressing the test button – it will provide you and your family with an early warning to a fire in your home and give you the best possible chance to escape.
“Ensure you have a fire escape plan should a fire occur. Take time to think about what would happen if a fire broke out in your home tonight - do you know how you and your family would escape safely?
“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 2013 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.
“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.
“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.