16/04/2019

Fire Service Lowers 'People At Risk' Age To 50 And Older

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has lowered the age group of those deemed most at risk from accidental house fires to people aged 50 and older.

It follows the death of 19 people in the last three years, 17 of which were aged over 50. Nine of the victims were aged 50-59 and a further eight were 60 and above.

The reduction in age, coupled with other risk factors, will enable the NIFRS to target fire safety resources where they are needed most. The aim is to further reduce the number of accidental house fires and resulting injuries and deaths in Northern Ireland.   

The change in the age group to the 'People at Risk' definition was officially launched yesterday, Monday 15 April, at an event to thank and recognise the contribution of partnership agencies in helping the NIFRS target those within the community who are most at risk from fire. The event also explored what else can be done, via the partnership approach, to better help protect the community.
News Image
Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire and Rescue Officer and Director of Service Delivery commented: "Whilst fire safety is an important issue for everyone, we can't ignore the fact that there are people who because of their age and circumstances are at higher risk. The reality is if you are aged 50 or older you are more at risk from a house fire. It's a stark statistic that over the last 3 years 89.5% of those who have died in accidental house fires were within this age group. 

"Almost 90% of these were people living alone. With an ageing population and a greater emphasis on supporting people to live independently at home, we need to make sure that our fire safety preventative measures are targeted at people most at risk from fire.

"Three years ago we launched our People at Risk Strategy and collaborative working underpinned our approach in helping us reach and target those in our community who needed our help the most.

"Since then Firefighters have completed 13,117 free Home Fire Safety Checks right across Northern Ireland, prioritised towards those most at risk in our community. 33% of these (4,392) were generated directly from a referral from a partnership agency and this is testament to the success of these mutually beneficial relations across the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. I'm confident that this approach has undoubtedly helped save lives within Northern Ireland and enhanced the well-being of so many who fall into our 'at risk' category."

Anyone who is aged 50 or older and is concerned about their fire safety or that of someone in their community can find safety advice or register for a free Home Fire Safety Check by visiting the NIFRS website.



(JG/CM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

17 July 2001
ASSEMBLY CREATE AWARD TO HONOUR FIRE SERVICE
THE Northern Ireland Fire Service is to receive the first ever award given by the province's devolved assembly. An illuminated scroll is to be presented to Chief Fire Officer John McClelland on Tuesday, by assembly speaker Lord Alderdice in tribute to the sacrifice made by fire fighters over the years.
07 October 2010
Ireland-wide Fire Safety Week Underway
Ireland is 'going to blazes' as National Fire Safety Week takes place this week.
25 February 2010
University 'Goes To Blazes' In Design Test
Construction professionals from across the world will watch how steel beams used in modern office buildings react in a burning inferno, in the first fire test of its kind, staged by the University of Ulster this week.
04 October 2004
North-South Fire Safety Week launched
A joint north-south Fire Safety Week has been launched today by the Northern Ireland Fire Brigade and the Republic of Ireland’s National Safety Council. ‘Fire, Our Community at Risk’ aims to raise public awareness of fire safety issues, and in particular, the higher risk to the very young and elderly people living alone.
06 October 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.