Derry has become the first city in Northern Ireland to try out a specialised shut off cooker device that helps prevent fires.
This week the Northern Ireland Fire Service endorsed the Stove Guard, a unique system that has been installed in the Leonard Cheshire House in the Waterside.
Leonard Cheshire is a leading charity supporting people with brain injuries and disabilities to live independently in Derry.
The device is part of a partnership between the charity and the Fire Service in which free advice and home fire safety checks are given to people who are being supported by LCD.
The stove guards stop fires before they happen by activating an alarm when the heat becomes excessive and cutting off the power before a fire begins to start.
Stove guards work by analysing the temperature on the surface of the hob and switches the power off.
100,000 of these devices have already been fitted in the UK with no accidents reported to date.
Speaking at the launch in Derry Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford said: “NIFRS is pleased to support our partners LCD in the use of these specialised stove guards and automatic cooker shut off devices, to help protect vulnerable people from the dangers of 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.
“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.
“Prevention is essential. We don’t want to have to send crews to fires. 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,” Dale Ashford said.
Tonya McCormac, Director of Operations NI, Leonard Cheshire Disability NI said: “Leonard Cheshire Disability is 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.”
She revealed how these devices are currently mandatory in the homes of the elderly and vulnerable in Norway.
Four will now be installed in the living area units of the Cheshire house which is staffed with support workers who are on hand to help residents when cooking.
Once the four residents have trialed the Stoveguard, the charity said they will look at expanding and installing them in more living areas in the units at the house in the Waterside.