NIFRS and Council Working Together to ‘STOP Fire’
17 January 2018
Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) and Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) are working together to protect people most at risk from accidental house fires and accidents in the home.
Group Commander, Fergal Leonard, NIFRS, explains: “In 2017 we attended 87 accidental house fires across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area. 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.
“Our aim is to protect those most at risk 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 Derry City and Strabane District Council, 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.
“Through this new partnership agreement with the Council we will provide free Home Fire Safety Checks to people referred to us through the Council’s Home Safety Check programme. 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 refer people to the Council who would benefit from their Home Safety Check visit.
“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. We want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities due to accidental house fires.”
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, formally launched the partnership at Crescent Link Fire Station where he praised the joined up relationship between the two organisations.
“I am delighted to officially launch this partnership agreement between Council and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service,” he said.
“Both organisations already do critical work in protecting the public from the risk of fire and other hazards in the home and this partnership will allow them to fulfil that role even more effectively by sharing information to highlight vulnerable cases and offering more people the practical advice and support they need to stay safe.
“We have a responsibility as a community to look out for the vulnerable in our society such as the elderly and disabled particularly in the longer evenings at this time of year and I would urge people to look out for each other and if they are aware of cases of people who should review their home safety to refer them to the Council’s Home Safety Service or NIFRS.”
NIFRS currently has 72 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 [email protected] or 02892 664 221.