06/10/2003

Ministers launch fire safety week

Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Angela Smith, today jointly launched Fire Safety Week with her counterpart from Dublin, Pat the Cope Gallagher, Minister for Safety.

This is the second year that this joint initiative between the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade and the Republic of Ireland’s National Safety Council has taken place.

On the initiative, Mrs Smith said: “Everyone, North and South, will be targeted by the fire safety messages during the week, but there will be a particular focus on the more vulnerable members of society, such as the very young and the elderly. It is important that everyone is aware of the risks of fire and takes preventative action to reduce those risks. Fire Safety Week will help achieve that.”

“I am also pleased to note that further emphasis is being given to raise public awareness of the dangers of hoax calls. These calls are not fun, they are not clever, and they are not acceptable.

"We need to be sure that Fire Service resources are available to react quickly to genuine emergency situations. Hoax callers must be made to understand that they are putting lives at risk – which could be members of their own families.”

Joint Fire Safety Week was one of the initiatives developed by the Cross Border Working Group set up to identify areas of cross border co-operation and joint working on fire services. The first joint Fire Safety Week, co-hosted by the NI Fire Brigade and the National Safety Council of the Republic of Ireland, took place in November 2002, and was launched at the Fire Service Training Centre in Dublin.

(MB)

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