Significant Drop in Fire Fatalities during 2012 – CFOA

–       Fire Safety Week 2012 is launched

New figures from the Irish Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) show a dramatic reduction in the number of deaths from fires in Ireland so far this year.

17 fatalities were recorded during the first nine months of 2012 compared to 30 for the corresponding period last year. The deaths occurred in Dublin and Roscommon (3), Meath and Cork (2), Waterford, Mayo, Offaly, Monaghan, Donegal, Kerry and Kilkenny (1). 

The figures were released today to coincide with the launch of Fire Safety Week 2012 by Fergus O’Dowd, T.D., Minister of State at Department of Environment, Community & Local Government.

The theme of this year’s all-island initiative, which runs from October 1st to 8th, is “Protecting People Most at Risk From Fire.”

Speaking at today’s official launch at Dublin Fire Brigade’s main training centre at the O Brien Institute (OBI) in Marino, Seamus Murphy, CFOA Chairperson and Mayo Chief Fire Officer stated: “Having smoke alarms fitted is not enough, they must also be in good working order.  It is vital also that you and your family know what to do if a smoke alarm activates”.

Mr. Murphy added that while he welcomes the reduction in fire fatalities during the first 9 months of 2012, it is “incumbent on all householders to continue to remain fire safety conscious.”

He continued: “A total of 38 people died from house fires in 2011. Thankfully, we have witnessed a considerable reduction of the number of fatalities so far in 2012. However, one life lost remains one life too many. Sadly, many of the fatalities that have occurred this year could have been prevented. These tragic incidents serve as a stark reminder to us all of the importance of installing working smoke alarms and the need to have an escape plan should it become necessary to evacuate.”

A series of local prevention activities to heighten fire safety awareness will take place around Ireland over the next week as part of the 11th annual Fire Safety Week, which is jointly hosted by the National Directorate for Fire & Emergency Management and the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

According to Mr. Murphy: “This week, Fire Services throughout Ireland will be highlighting the importance of testing your smoke alarms weekly, having your escape route planned and knowing your obligations regarding fire safety in the home. We will also be requesting that schools and businesses to also undertake fire drills during the week.”

The messages being promoted during Fire Safety Week include:

· Install smoke alarms in your home to give you an early warning, check your smoke alarm at least twice a year & Use long life lithium batteries with your smoke alarm if possible

· Close all your doors at night and check that electrical appliances are switched off.

· Avoid overloading electrical sockets

· Use an effective spark guard with open fires

· Clean your chimneys twice a year

· Keep a fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket nearby and know how to use them

· Use electric blankets sensibly – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

· Make sure cigarettes are extinguished properly – Avoid smoking in bed

· In the event of a fire in your home Get Out, Stay Out And Call the Fire Brigade Out

· The phone number to call out the Fire Service is 999/112

In the event of a fire in your home “Get Out, Stay Out And Call the Fire Brigade Out”. The Fire Service can be contacted by dialling 999.

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