07/10/2019

Pat Jennings & NIFRS Issue Fire Safety Warning

Legendary Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings has joined the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service to send a message regarding the heightened risk of fire for the over 50s.

According to the NIRFS, 87% of deaths from accidental house fires in the last four years were people aged 50 and over.

This striking statistic, released as part of North South Fire Safety Week 2019, has prompted the service to reduce the 'People at Risk' from fire age from 60+ to 50 and over.

Pat Jennings, aged 74, also joined the team as Community Safety Ambassador to raise awareness among that demographic and highlight the importance of prioritising safety in the home.

He said: "I'm really pleased to be working with NIFRS to help kick off Fire Safety Week and raise awareness of fire safety in the home. Like over 30% of our wee country, I fall into that age demographic of 50 and over, who are most at risk from fire.

"I think it's really important that we are all aware of simple fire safety steps we can take to help keep our home safe from fire and what help is available for people like me."

The NIFRS offers a free home fire safety check to those most at risk, including anyone with a disability or impaired mobility, or anyone with a health condition that would impact on their ability to respond to an emergency. Firefighters will install or check that smoke alarms are working, help to identify any obvious dangers and advise on an escape plan.

"I would encourage people my age to use this potentially lifesaving service," Mr Jennings continued.

Organised in partnership with the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management in the Republic of Ireland, North South Fire Safety Week aims to promote fire safety, with the ultimate goal of zero accidental fire deaths. Lord Mayor of Belfast John Finucane will officially launch the project today, Monday 07 October.
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This year's theme 'Safer Together' focuses on how NIFRS works with partner organisations to help keep people safe from fire, and also how the community can support each other and fire crews.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer, Director Service Delivery explained: "We're delighted to be teaming up with Pat Jennings as our new Community Safety Ambassador to help save lives from fire.

"Many of this age group will remember the legendary Pat Jennings for his heroics in goals for Northern Ireland. He will be a great ambassador to allow us reach even more people at risk to help protect our community this Fire Safety Week and beyond.

"Our focus is on working together through partnerships, and most importantly our biggest partnership is with the community. We will continue to work tirelessly to reach the people most at risk; however we need the community's help to do this. This Fire Safety Week I would like to encourage you to check in with your older neighbours and family members, and with those who are more at risk from fire. If you are concerned about their safety, arrange a free home fire safety check for them via our website. Together we can achieve our goal of zero accidental fire deaths. One life lost is one too many."

Eoghan Murphy T.D., Ireland's Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government added: "This year's theme, 'Safer Together', is a welcome reminder that we all have a part to play to keep ourselves, and each other, safe from the dangers of fire. The campaign not only encourages people to have smoke alarms and test them but also for the wider community to look out for each other – especially those most vulnerable and at risk. This year's theme asks that communities check in with vulnerable relatives, neighbours and friends and ensure they are mindful of fire safety, have working smoke alarms and have an escape plan in the event of a fire. We can all be 'safer together'."



(JG/CM)

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