13 October 2023
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) is underlining the importance of fire safety and prevention in homes in the wake of attending accidental fires during Fire Safety Week.
Firefighters responded to three separate incidents on Wednesday. In the morning, a kitchen fire in Downpatrick led to a 70-year-old woman receiving oxygen due to shock.
Later that day, a cooking-related fire in a west Belfast flat resulted in five women being treated for smoke inhalation. In the evening, an 81-year-old man in the Lisburn area was hospitalized after a kitchen fire.
Throughout the week, NIFRS has been urging the community to follow the ‘STOP Fire’ message.
> S – Smoke alarms
> T – Test alarms weekly
> O – Obvious dangers
> P – Plan your escape
Area Commander Suzanne Fleming said:
“Understanding how to address risky behaviours related to smoking, cooking, electrical safety, and having a clear fire escape plan is crucial to ensure the safety and comfort of those at risk.
“Incidents this week, some involving older residents, highlight the importance of contacting us at the first signs of fire. The sooner a 999 call is made to the NIFRS, the sooner firefighters can respond to an incident.”
Area Commander Fleming reiterated advice to people not to put themselves at risk in attempting a rescue or trying to retrieve personal belongings.
Earlier this week, NIFRS reported that 7 out of 10 individuals who lost their lives in accidental house fires in 2022 were known to other agencies.
This has spurred NIFRS to strengthen its outreach efforts, collaborating with community, voluntary, and statutory sectors to enhance home fire safety.
“If you have concerns regarding a clear fire escape route, a working smoke alarm, or other home safety issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
“We rely on people’s support networks to refer their clients, family members, friends, or older neighbours for a Free Home Fire Safety Check via our website.
“I strongly urge those who are eligible to take advantage of this service this winter.
“Fire prevention is at the heart of what we do at NIFRS. The support of our partners and our community is vital in our work to STOP Fire this Fire Safety Week and beyond.”