Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has urged everyone in Mid Ulster to make home fire safety their top resolution this year, following 38 accidental house fires - costing one life in the area - in 2014.
And even though the number of dwelling fires had reduced from 40 the previous year, NIFRS Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford said that even “one accidental fire death is one too many”.
Urging people to help protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fire, he has asked that we get into the habit of checking smoking alarms, form an escape plan and ensure everyone knows what to do if fire should take hold.
“We want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities due to accidental houses fires,” he said.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving that.
“By routinely completing a number of simple fire safety steps, you can drastically reduce the risk of a fire in your home. Getting into the habit of checking your smoke alarms are working may just save your life.
“Every year firefighters in Northern Ireland are called to fires in homes where smoke alarms are fitted, but are not working properly.
“Check they are working once a week by pressing the button. A working smoke alarm will provide you and your family with an early warning to fire in the house to give you the best possible chance to escape.
“Plan your escape route. Everyone should know what to do in a fire. If a fire occurs at night your escape will be hindered by dark or difficult conditions. If you have already planned an escape route and everyone knows what to do, escaping safely will be much easier.
“No-one is immune to the danger of fire,” he went on, “and fire does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone of us.”
But NIFRS he said cannot do it all their own, and need the public’s help to reach their goal and to help reduce such tragedies.
“We offer a Free Home Fire Safety Check, whereby local Firefighters will visit your home to carry out a fire safety check. “Firefighters will check for appliances that could cause fire, help with any actions to avoid fire and most importantly ensure that your smoke alarm is working. If necessary, we will fit a free smoke alarm for you.
“It could prove to be the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made.”