Fire service's home safety call

THE fire service in Essex has called on householders to be extra vigilant in terms of home safety after figures revealed twice the number of people had died in fires this year than expected under Government forecasts.

THE fire service in Essex has called on householders to be extra vigilant in terms of home safety after figures revealed twice the number of people had died in fires this year than expected under Government forecasts.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service has released its latest records for different types of incidents and, although the number of accidental fires has fallen, the number of preventable deaths in the county is double the target figure for the county drawn up by the Government.

Preventable fires are ones that could have been avoided - either through simple safety devices such as smoke alarms or more sophisticated units such as sprinkler systems. In the past 12 months, 13 people have died in preventable fires.

Between April and October this year, there have been four preventable fire deaths compared with a Government target of two.

In response, Essex Fire Service has stepped up its campaign to educate as many people as possible about the dangers of fire and the importance of having fully working smoke detectors.

Dovercourt Fire Station is currently leading the way in terms of the numbers of smoke alarms fitted in people's homes.

Most Read

More than 1,000 have been installed in homes across the Harwich and Dovercourt area during the past few years and each time one is fitted by a firefighter, a fellow officer will give the home owner a brief lecture on fire safety.

A spokesman for the Dovercourt fire service said: “Fire safety is a really important aspect of our work and we are doing a lot within the community to spread the fire safety message. We don't just fit fire alarms, we try to educate people as well.”

Lionel Lee, chairman of Essex Fire Authority, was yesterday unavailable for comment. But former chairman and current authority board member Les Double said: “Preventing deaths by fire is our responsibility under fire safety and it is something the authority is working very hard on.

“We are giving away thousands of smoke alarms and educating as many people as possible about the dangers of fires. This year alone we have spent £180,000 just on smoke detectors.”

Preventable fire deaths are the only targets in which the county's fire service is currently falling below its targets.

Between April and the end of October this year there have been 80 injuries in accidental fires compared with 92 during the same period last year and 84 as set out in the Government target.

The number of accidental fires in peoples' homes has also fallen from 446 incidents between April and October last year to 389 during the same period this year.

During the same period the number of hoax calls has also dropped - from 842 last year to 737 this year.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter