15 May 2020
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has today agreed to provide home fire safety advice to everyone receiving a food box, as part of the Department for Communities (DfC) response to the COVID-19 emergency.
The Department’s food parcel service has been a major success with a large number of boxes being delivered to those in need via partnership working between Councils and grass roots Community Organisations. These boxes will now include vital home fire safety information.
The agreement is part of a wider drive by NIFRS to provide home fire safety advice to those most at risk in the absence of face to face home fire safety checks, which have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year NIFRS warned that with more people spending more time at home there had been an increase in accidental house fires and during the COVID-19 pandemic the organisation has continued to stress the importance of home fire safety, especially for those at risk.
Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey said:
“These boxes are a crucial lifeline for many and I am really pleased to be able to include fire safety advice for everyone who receives them. When I launched this element of our overall access to food initiative, I said it was a great example of genuine collaboration and I am very pleased to be working with the Fire & Rescue Service to help deliver this incredibly important advice.
“Staying fire safe in the home is a great way to ensure that we are not putting extra pressure on our emergency services and our NHS during these difficult times.”
Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Paddy Gallagher said:
“I want to thank Minister Hargey for working with us to ensure we can deliver this important fire safety advice to thousands of homes through the food parcels scheme.
“To continue providing our vital Prevention work during the COVID-19 pandemic, we changed how we deliver our Home Fire Safety Checks (HFSCs) and moved from a face-to-face approach to a telephone support service.
“This partnership with the Department for Communities will help us identify people at risk from fire and reinforces our ‘Safer Together’ approach and commitment to collaborating with partners to protect the community during this time.
“I want to use this opportunity to inform the wider public that NIFRS are working hard to reach people who may be vulnerable to the risk of fire in their homes and encourage everyone to contact us if they have any concerns.”
NIFRS over-the-phone fire safety checks can be accessed at www.nifrs.org or by calling 02892 664221(Monday-Friday 9am-5pm).