Safety warning after rise in house fire call outs

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A warning has been issued to local people to be make sure the are aware of precautions in case of a house fire, after the number of fire call outs rose last year.

The Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that across the North in 2015 11 people lost their lives as a result of eight house fires.

This included one fatal dwelling fire in Derry last year at De Burgh Square and dozens of call outs to other house fires across the city.

2015 saw an increase in the number of accidental house fires from 882 in 2014 rising to 889 in 2015.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said: “For us, as a fire and rescue service, one accidental fire death is one too many and we want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities.

“People aged over 65, people with mobility issues or a sensory impairment who also smoke are deemed higher risk to the dangers of fire and we will continue to work hard to identify and help those people. However, no-one is immune to the dangers of fire and no-one should become complacent about their own fire safety – it can happen to any of us.”

Mr Walmsley urged people to get into the habit of checking their smoke alarms every week to make sure they are working.

“Every year firefighters are called to fires in homes where smoke alarms are fitted, but are not working properly. A working smoke alarm will provide you and your family with an early warning to fire in the house to give you the best possible chance to escape”, he added.

“Plan your escape route. Everyone should know what to do in a fire. If a fire occurs at night your escape may be hindered by the dark or difficult conditions. If you have already planned an escape route and everyone in the house knows what to do, escaping safely will be much easier.

“We also do Free Home Fire Safety Checks, whereby local firefighters will visit your home to carry out a fire safety check. If necessary, we will fit a free smoke alarm for you. Remember to make fire safety in the home the one New Year’s resolution you never break – it could save you and your family’s life.”

To arrange a free Home Fire Safety Check call 028 9260 0477. Text phone/ Minicom 028 9262 8800 or go to www.nifrs.org for further information, and follow NIFRS on Facebook and Twitter for regular advice on fire safety.