In attempts to further contain the COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Ireland has extended its lockdown until May 9th. With the exception of essential workers, the majority of us are staying at home and practicing social distancing.
Staying indoors during lockdown means we can help flatten the curve and keep our families safe from the coronavirus. However, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Services (NIFRS) are urging us to stay safe at home in other ways. The plea comes as the emergency service reveals nearly a 50% increase in accidental home fires.
NIFRS released the statistics this month, showing that 101 accidental fires took place from March 2nd 2020 until April 5th. During the same period in 2019 there were just 68 accidental fires in the home. Meaning a 49% increase this year during lockdown.
The main causes of accidental fires during this time are cooking, electrical incidents and candles or matches. Since last year we are also seeing a 33% increase in cooking appliance related fires, and electrical supply related fires have more than doubled. What’s most worrying however is that the number of casualties has also increased by 48% during this time.
Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer Alan Walmsley had said, “As the community is spending most of their time indoors, there has been a sharp increase in the number of accidental fires in the home.
“Last week we warned that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to significant pressures on us, including a reduction in the number of frontline Firefighters available for emergency response. We have made changes to how we deliver our service to help ease the impact of the pandemic on Firefighter availability and our ability to respond to emergencies”.
The NIFRS are calling on the community to take extra steps to ensure safety at home. Current advice includes; if you are cooking at home, don’t leave it unattended, try not to overload plug sockets with electrical devices and always put out candles before going to bed. They urge people not to smoke in bed and when putting out cigarettes, always make sure they are fully out.
Whilst we as community continue to look out for our elderly neighbours or friends and family at risk, we’re asked not to forget about their fire safety too. Check in and discuss potential risks or if you’re concerned, pass on their details to the fire service.
Last year three people in NI lost their lives to accidental fires, the lowest ever achieved within NIFRS.
“One life lost is still one to many, and our goal is for there to be no deaths caused by accidental fires in the home, especially at this difficult time”, added the Chief Officer.
At First Reaction we understand the importance of staying safe at home. With almost a 50% increase in accidental home fires during lockdown, moving quickly and knowing exactly what to do can save lives.
Fire safety prevention is the number one best method to keep your family safe, however in the unfortunate event of a home fire, being prepared is half the battle. That’s why at First Reaction we’re constantly working to bring families the most innovative fire safety protection and emergency equipment.
Here’s how First Reaction can help you and your family stay safe at home:
A fire extinguisher is a crucial tool in protecting your home. The small piece of emergency equipment is designed to tackle small fires and suppress them until fire and rescue arrive.
Many household fires begin in the kitchen and a fire blanket can prevent small fires from getting out of control, protecting both you and your family.
When it comes to fire safety in the home, it is vitally important to have an escape plan in order to protect your family. Household fires can spread rapidly and by taking the time to make an escape plan, you can save lives.
We would like to thank the NIFRS and all essential workers for their work carried out at this time. We also hope our customers remain safe during the pandemic.
If you or a family member/friend require advice on keeping safe, contact the NIFRS on 02892664221 for an ‘over the phone’ home fire safety check.Back to news