24 August 2023
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has joined up with local knitting groups across Northern Ireland to create hand-knitted teddies which can be given out as a comfort item to children, or adults with dementia or a learning disability, at incidents NIFRS attends.
So far, 9 knitting groups have contributed to the project and the teddies are being carried by 48 NIFRS Officers across Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Watch Commander Bryan McCaul, who is leading the project, explains:
“The idea is that NIFRS Officers will carry the hand-knitted ‘trauma teddies’ with them in their fire cars to give out to people in need of comfort at incidents we attend. As Firefighters we are often called to help people during very difficult and traumatising times and the hope is that these special teddies will help provide some degree of soothing and reassurance to them during that time.
“We are honoured that local knitting groups, who are based throughout Northern Ireland, are taking the time and effort to create these special teddies for us.
“We hope to give something back to the knitters who have helped us by going out to them and delivering free home fire safety talks. We speak to the knitters about potential fire dangers in their homes, make sure they know about the importance of having working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan, and encourage them to apply for a free Home Fire Safety Check if eligible.
“I’ve been really moved by the eagerness of knitting groups across Northern Ireland who have given their time and energy to this worthwhile project. These lovingly crafted teddies will provide great comfort to people across Northern Ireland experiencing a difficult time.”