Dean McWhirter Firefighter Control Regional Control Centre, NIFRS HQ, Lisburn Read this articleRead all 10 articles
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) and the Red Cross are working together to protect people most at risk from accidental house fires.
Group Commander, Gerry Lennon, Prevention and Protection, NIFRS, explains: “In 2017 we attended 854 accidental house fires across Northern Ireland. 7 people tragically lost their lives and we rescued 88 people. We want to reach a stage where we have zero accidental fire deaths in Northern Ireland. Our aim is to protect those most at risk from fire by putting in place measures to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring but we cannot solve the problem alone. By working in partnership with the British Red Cross, and indeed across the voluntary and health & social care sector, together we can identify people most at risk and raise awareness of fire safety across the community.
“While fire safety is an issue that impacts everyone, we know there are people who are at a greater risk of having an accidental house fire because of their circumstances. Our ‘people at risk’ definition includes those aged 60 or older, people who have a disability or impaired mobility that would impact on their ability to acknowledge and respond to a fire in their home and those people who have already been referred to NIFRS by a partnership agency.
“Through this new partnership agreement with the Red Cross we will provide free Home Fire Safety Checks to people referred to us through the Red Cross ‘Support at Home’ initiative. Our Home Fire Safety Check is carried out by local Firefighters who offer practical fire safety advice, develop fire escape plans and check and fit smoke alarms. Similarly, we can also refer people to the Red Cross who may benefit from one of their support services.
“This partnership approach will ultimately help save lives and helps us protect and engage directly with those in the community who need our help most.”
Elizabeth Boyd, Independent Living Service Manager, for the Red Cross in Northern Ireland said;
“Red Cross is a point of contact for many vulnerable people across Northern Ireland and we are working with increasing numbers of people suffering from various degrees of loneliness and social isolation. People without family nearby or close networks of friends can really benefit from the expertise and kindness of a joined up approach from the statutory and voluntary sector. We hope this new partnership will benefit many more vulnerable people by flagging safety and wellbeing concerns at an earlier stage when intervention can make such a big difference.”
NIFRS currently has 73 partnership agreements with organisations across the health, social care, voluntary and local government sectors, who deliver care services to people at risk on a daily basis. To find out how to become a partner agency with Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 02892 664 221.