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Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service: partnership to help protect people with disabilities from fire

Pictured (l-r) are Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford, NIFRS, Lady Christine Eames, Chairperson of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Trustees and Tonya McCormac, Director of Operations NI, Leonard Cheshire Disability NI.

Pictured (l-r) are Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford, NIFRS, Lady Christine Eames, Chairperson of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Trustees and Tonya McCormac, Director of Operations NI, Leonard Cheshire Disability NI.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has teamed up with Leonard Cheshire Disability NI (LCD) in a potentially lifesaving partnership, to help protect people with disabilities from fire within our community.

Both organisations have signed a unique formal agreement that will see LCD, the leading charity supporting people with disabilities in Northern Ireland, collaborate with local Firefighters to identify and prioritise free Home Fire Safety Checks for this vulnerable, at risk group.

In cases of high risk, where a disability affects a person’s ability to be aware of a fire or escape from a fire in their home, LCD will consider funding new assistive technologies, such as portable mist systems, vibrating smoke alarms or cooker shut-off systems, to provide enhanced protection and reduce the risk of fire occurring in the first place.

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service explains:

“Targeting and prioritising our community engagement work, based on those most at risk and preventing emergencies from occurring in the first place, is a key area of work for us. This partnership with LCD provides us with direct access to one of our most at risk groups within our community, to ensure they have taken all the necessary fire safety precautions to protect themselves from fire.

“For some people with a disability, the protection, support and reassurance that assistive fire technologies in their home can bring are immense. They enable them to remain living independently in the community whilst greatly reducing the risk of fire in their home.

“As a fire and rescue service, we are currently exploring the use of new devices and technologies in fire prevention and protection. We want to ensure we are doing everything we possibly can do, to better protect people with a disability and other at risk groups in our community from the dangers of fire in the home. We look forward to working closely with LCD on this joint mission.

“One life lost in an accidental house fire is one too many and we remain steadfast in our commitment to zero deaths from house fires in Northern Ireland. We continue to work together with LCD and other partner agencies across the statutory, voluntary and community groups to target those most at risk and reach a stage where we have no fatalities due to accidental house fires.”

Tonya McCormac, Director of Operations NI, Leonard Cheshire Disability NI said:

“Leonard Cheshire Disability are committed to supporting disabled people to live independently in the community. By working in partnership with NIFRS we are able to deliver a co-ordinated approach to fire safety using new technologies and innovation to reduce the potential risk of fire for people with disabilities. We are delighted to have this opportunity to work more closely with NIFRS and are fully committed to enhance fire protection and prevention for disabled people in their own homes.”

 

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