07/10/2010

Ireland-wide Fire Safety Week Underway

Ireland is 'going to blazes' as National Fire Safety Week takes place this week.

Michael Finneran, Minister of State at the Irish Republic's Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, launched it in Dublin Fire Brigade's Training Centre in the O'Brien Institute, Marino,

He said that National Fire Safety Week, 4th - 11th October, is being jointly run with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and is about enhancing fire safety, particularly in the home.

The Dáil Minister referred to this year's National Fire Safety Week theme 'Smoke alarms and escape plans save lives' and said "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".

"Unfortunately, on average 46 people die in Ireland each year as a result of fire. House fires account for the vast majority of fire fatalities," the Minister continued.
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"Both the very young and the elderly are particularly vulnerable and these groups account for almost half of the domestic fatalities. In most of these incidents, a level of fire safety education and awareness could have prevented the loss of life in a fire or limited the damage," the Minister added and also asked family members, relatives and friends of the elderly to be mindful of the dangers of open fires if they are used this winter.

He said that, while National Fire Safety Week marks the beginning of an intensive media advertising campaign to run until Christmas, the Minister stated that it was imperative that "public awareness of the dangers of fire be maintained throughout the year".

He said that new television and radio advertisements focussing on the importance of escape plans were launched today and will appear in the media in the coming weeks.

Minister Finneran thanked the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for attending the event and for their continued participation.

Acknowledging their valuable input, Minister Finneran stated: "Improving fire safety is a crucially important element of the work of the fire service and I would like to thank senior fire officers, North and South, and their brigades for increasing their prevention activities this week to heighten fire safety awareness in our communities."

(BMcC/KMcA)

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