Accidental fires double in Larne

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The number of accidental dwelling fires reported in the Larne area has almost doubled over the past year, new figures have shown.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) revealed there were 19 call outs from the Larne fire station in 2014, compared with 10 in 2013.

Meanwhile, Carnlough fire station responded to three call outs last year, which remained unchanged from 2013.

Across Northern Ireland as a whole, the number of accidental dwelling fires dropped slightly from 966 in 2013, to 923 last year.

Tragically, there were nine accidental fire deaths in 2013, and eight people lost their lives in accidental fires in 2014.

NIFRS is calling on everyone to make home fire safety their top resolution this year, to help protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fire.

Dale Ashford, Assistant Chief Fire Officer said: “One accidental fire death is one too many and we want to reach a stage where we have no fatalities in Northern Ireland due to accidental houses fires. We remain steadfast in our commitment to achieving that.

“By routinely completing a number of simple fire safety steps, you can drastically reduce the risk of a fire in your home this year and beyond.

“Getting into the habit of checking your smoke alarms are working may just save your life. Every year firefighters in Northern Ireland are called to fires in homes where smoke alarms are fitted, but are not working properly. Check they are working once a week by pressing the button. A working smoke alarm will provide you and your family with an early warning to fire in the house to give you the best possible chance to escape.

“Plan your escape route. Everyone should know what to do in a fire. If a fire occurs at night your escape will be hindered by dark or difficult conditions. If you have already planned an escape route and everyone knows what to do, escaping safely will be much easier.

“We offer a free home fire safety check, whereby local firefighters will visit your home to carry out a fire safety check. Firefighters will check for appliances that could cause fire, help with any actions to avoid fire and most importantly ensure that your smoke alarm is working. If necessary, we will fit a free smoke alarm for you. It could prove to be the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made.

“Remember to make fire safety in the home the one New Year’s resolution you never break – it could save you and your family’s life.”

To arrange a free home fire safety check, call 028 9260 0477, text phone/minicom 028 9262 8800 or go www.nifrs.org for further information.