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National Fire Safety Week Campaign Asks People to Look Out for Vulnerable Neighbours

The National Fire Safety Week campaign launched in Antrim, asking people to check in on vulnerable neighbours, while continuing to remind people of the need to take fire safety precautions in their own homes. Alongside the campaign launch, the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management has also announced an additional €100,000 this year for the provision of specially-adapted smoke alarms for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, to be distributed via local Fire Authorities.

The latest data released by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) in the Republic of Ireland reveals that smoking materials were the most common cause of fatality in Ireland in 2022 and over 60% of fire fatalities were among those aged 65 and over. The incidence of serious house fires is much higher for older people living alone.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said, “local communities play an important role in fire prevention and this year we’re asking people to check in with vulnerable neighbours, family and friends in their communities. A working smoke alarm is the first line of defence should a fire break out and this year we’ve invested an additional €100,000 to provide specially adapted smoke alarms for more vulnerable members of our society. These will be available for free through the expanded Community Smoke Alarm Scheme from local Fire Authorities who are doing ongoing work with community groups to prevent fire in the home. Alongside that initiative, in our advertising campaign we’re asking individual people to help with that effort by calling in on vulnerable neighbours and checking that they have a working smoke alarm.”

Speaking at the launch, Keith Leonard, Director NDFEM added, “enhancing engagement with citizens is at the forefront of our public services at both local and national level. Fire Authorities work with many community organisations and would welcome involvement from other groups representing vulnerable members of society to reduce incidences of fire. We encourage organisations working with at risk groups to reach out to their local fire service and explore ways to work together to prevent fire.”

Aidan Jennings, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, NIFRS explains, “our partner agencies and caring professionals are the ’eyes and ears’ for us in the community. They work incredibly hard and play an invaluable part in helping NIFRS keep those most at risk in our community safe from fire. This Fire Safety Week we are reconnecting with all our partners to explore what additional support we can offer them to help be fire aware. We are also asking others who work closely with those most at risk in our community to consider becoming one of our partners.”

Recent CSO Census Data showed that over 70,000 homes in Ireland are still without a working smoke alarm. As with previous Fire Safety campaigns the directorate are emphasising the need for WORKING smoke alarms at least in every level of your home and to test it regularly, keeping your home clear of fire hazards

National Fire Safety Week 2023 is jointly run with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services (NIFRS) and the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM). The 2023 campaign will run across radio, TV and social media platforms. National Fire Safety Week marks the beginning of an intensive media advertising campaign that will run through the higher risk period of fire fatality from October 2023 through to Spring 2024.

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