As part of National Fire Safety Week, the Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan, is calling on the people of County Cork to test their smoke alarms every week in order to protect themselves and their homes from fire.
Fire Safety Week, which is run jointly with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, takes place from October 4th to 11th and focuses on fire safety in the home. Most house fires start in the living room, followed by the bedroom and the kitchen. The most common time for a fatal fire to occur is from midnight to 2.00am and most fatal fires occur during the winter months.
In 2020, fire claimed the lives of 29 people in Ireland. Crews from Cork County Council’s Fire Service attended 1,828 incidents in 2020. Of these, 326 were fire-related incidents in homes. Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan highlighted how the statistics emphasise the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home : “Nationally, there has been a decline in fire related deaths over the past 15 years due to general fire safety awareness together with the uptake in domestic smoke alarms. Households should have at least one smoke alarm on every floor which must be tested regularly to confirm it is working and ability to alert people when needed. Why not start your own routine of smoke alarm checks by simply pressing the test button until the detector alarm sounds. Do this on a set day so that a habit will be formed, e.g. Test It Tuesday!”
Paul Griffin , Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Cork County Council stated that, “While house fires in Cork County were down when compared to recent years, such fires still represent a significant risk to people, especially those living alone and those over 65. Sadly, there were 29 fatalities from fires across the country in 2020 with all but one of these occurring in the home. There were no smoke alarms present in half of these homes while another quarter had a smoke alarm, but it was found to be not working. A working smoke alarm is vital to alert or wake a person in the event of a fire.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added, “In response to the Covid-19 pandemic we are spending more time in the home. It was more important than ever that we were all aware of the steps we can take to protect ourselves and our homes from fire. Now, as society begins to open back up and we return to work and education, it is important that we don’t get complacent. This year’s Fire Safety Week focus is on Fire Safety in the Home, encouraging all homes to have smoke alarms and to test them weekly. We hope to help the public build and maintain good Fire Safe habits as routines return to some sort of normality.”
As part of National Fire Safety Week, Cork County Council’s Fire Service is running a colouring and art competition for primary school children. Children in junior infants class up to and including 2nd class can choose from several sets of colouring pictures while older students in 3rd to 6th class can draw a picture or design a poster showing an important fire safety message or slogan. Winners will be picked from each class. The prizes include toy vouchers and home fire safety equipment. Further details are available on the Cork County Fire Service Facebook page. A selection of entries will be featured on the page each week. The competition will run from Monday, October 4th to Friday, October 29th, with the winners announced in November.
For further fire safety tips and advice, please follow Cork County Fire Service on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.firesafetyweek.ie
Cork County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service provides and manages 20 fire stations throughout the county. There are 6 stations in West Cork, 6 in North, 5 in South and 3 in East Cork. The Fire Service responded to over 1800 emergency calls last year of which 55% were fire related. Over 200 trained firefighters, who are members of the local communities, often with other jobs, are retained and on call to respond to varied emergencies which include fire incidents, road traffic collisions, weather induced events, hazardous material spills and assistance with medical emergencies.