‘Smoking at home can cause fatal fires’ is the theme for this year’s National Fire Safety Week which takes place from October 5 – 12.
It is aimed at preventing fires caused by smoking in the home. Many fires start when cigarettes are left in ashtrays, when hot ashes/smouldering butts are dumped into the rubbish bin, or when someone falls asleep while smoking. The tragedy is that these fires were all preventable.
And according to Glenn Hamilton, A/ Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer based at the Letterkenny Fire Station, fire safety is something we all have to take seriously.
“As well as fighting fires and helping in emergency situations, the Fire Service is also involved in promoting fire safety awareness and educating the general public to be aware of the risk of fire. Fire is a societal risk and we are endeavouring to improve fire safety culture through various annual safety campaigns”.
Glenn, who comes from Ramelton, has worked in the fire service for 12 years and is a qualified Fire Safety Engineer.
“Our aim is to prevent the outbreak of fire, and in doing so protect life and consequential damage to property and the environment. We also work at regulating fire safety in public building to ensure minimum fire safety standards are being met,” he said.
National Fire Safety Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire, which occurred on October 8, 1871. The former American President, Calvin Coolidge, proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week in 1925 in memory of those who perished in that Fire. Since then, in early October, it has been observed each year in countries around the world.144 years on, the message regarding fire prevention and fire safety is as relevant today as it ever was.
Glenn reveals that the county’s 150 firefighters who make up the 16 brigades will be very busy promoting fire safety throughout Fire Safety Week.
“The programme of activities for this year’s Fire Safety Week throughout Donegal includes the erection of fire safety signs at each station; a presentation on fire safety to local communities; bringing fire brigades to a public location to distribute leaflets and engage with the public in passing on the fire safety message or an open night within the station; a fire safety poster competition for primary school children with the prize for the winner being a visit to the local fire station for their class as well as a fire safety presentation and fire extinguisher demonstration on Arranmore Island involving the local crew.”
He added they wanted everyone to play their part during National Fire Safety Week by checking on elderly neighbours and relatives. People could also check out more fire safety information at http://www.donegalcoco.ie/services/fireservice/firesafetyathome/ and find out how you can help to prevent and detect fires in your home. It could save your life one day!
- There are still homes with no smoke alarms.
- Vulnerable members of our community should not be overlooked.
- Most people who die in fires, die from smoke inhalation and not from burns and it can take as little as 3 minutes to die from smoke inhalation.
- A routine fire safety check only takes a few minutes but could mean the difference between life and death.
- Have a fire escape plan, teach it to your family and practice it regularly.