Trust reminds public to take steps to reduce fires at home

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Saturday, May 5th, 2012
As accidental house fires claimed 10 lives in the last year (2011/12) across Northern Ireland, the Southern Trust would like to remind the public of its free electric blanket testing service and the need to take steps to prevent fire. Each year old or faulty electric blankets cause fires. The service is available to anyone living in the Southern Trust area. Last year 610 blankets were tested by our trained electrical engineer and out of these, 342 blankets failed the safety test as they were either too old or were deemed to pose a fire risk to their owners. Blankets can fail due to wear and tear or become damaged because they are stored incorrectly. Clients whose blankets failed are given a £15.00 voucher towards the cost of a new blanket. Figures from this year tell us that a total of 259 people made use of these vouchers to purchase a new electric blanket. Safety information relating to electric blankets, fire safety and other common accidents is provided on the day. Anyone wishing to have their electric blanket tested should contact the Promoting Wellbeing Team on Tel: 028 3834 4973 or download a request form from the Healthy Living / Accident Prevention section of this website. Testing days will take place from September onwards. According to data published for 2009/2010 the Southern Trust area had the third highest number of major fires of all five Trusts across Northern Ireland. During this period the Northern Ireland Fire and Recue Service attended 353 major fires, 74 of which were in people’s homes. This reminder also comes following a recent seminar held in the Southern Trust to examine the link between fatal fires and vulnerable groups. Nina Daly, Accident Prevention Officer, stated: “Anyone can be affected by fire. I would urge all households to take three simple steps to avoid fire. Firstly, have a working smoke alarm in your home and test it every week to ensure that it is working – don’t assume that it is. Second, take measures at night to make your home safe. Extinguish smoking materials properly, place a guard over your fire, switch off electrical appliances and close all internal doors. Finally,