41 Fatalities from fires in 2017 – Family Fire Safety Plan Vital
Families across the country are being urged to discuss fire safety and develop a family fire safety plan. The advice comes from PhoneWatch, Ireland’s leading provider of monitored home safety systems, after statistics released today show that tragically 41 people lost their lives in fires in 2017.
Analysis by PhoneWatch of the 2017 Fatalities for Fire Report issued today by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has revealed:
- Fires have resulted in 41 fatalities over in 2017, an increase from 20 in the previous year.
- All but two fatal fires occurred within homes
There was no smoke detector located in over half of the fatal fires which occurred in homes
- In addition, PhoneWatch has confirmed it dispatched fire services to potentially life threatening situations an average of 27 times per week in 2017.
Speaking about fire safety in the home, PhoneWatch MD Eoin Dunne said “Our thoughts go out to those families who have been affected by a fire in the home. While a fire in the home is always an upsetting event, it becomes an unspeakable tragedy when there is a loss of life. Thankfully fatal fires remain a relatively rare occurrence in Ireland.
Mr. Dunne highlighted the increased fire risks within homes, “It is striking that the vast majority of fatal fires occur in the home. That is why it is essential that every family actively plans for their fire safety while at home.
“Shops, offices and restaurants will all have comprehensive fire safety plans, however the same is not true for most households. This is in spite of the fact that everyday activities we all do such as lighting fires or candles, as well as cooking increase the risks of fire. Fires can also have a much bigger impact at night because when we are asleep a small fire has a greater chance of becoming a serious incident. Despite these risks many homes have no plan in place for fire safety.”
“A smoke detector is an essential piece of equipment and should be fitted throughout every home. In addition it is worth considering a monitored alarm, this is far more effective as it ensures that even if you are incapacitated, others will always be able to raise the alarm. In PhoneWatch we make four potentially lifesaving interventions each day by dispatching emergency services to customers’ homes where alarms have activated. In total, PhoneWatch despatched the emergency services to Irish homes for fire and carbon monoxide activations over 1,400 times in the last year alone.”
Mr Dunne made a specific appeal to people in apartments to plan for their fire safety “People in apartments can develop a false sense of safety, believing that a building’s safety systems will protect them. Very often however these systems are only installed in common areas, meaning you still must protect your own dwelling with an adequate smoke detection system. In a large building it is also more important to plan your evacuation.
PhoneWatch is urging families across Ireland to put a fire safety plan in place for their own homes. Key steps to doing so include:
- Install Smoke Detectors: Ensure you have an adequate number of working smoke detectors. Make sure that these are in the right location, and will wake you if you are asleep. Remember a monitored alarm is the only way to ensure that the alarm will be raised if you are incapacitated.
- Test Detectors: Make sure you test the battery in your smoke detectors once a week
- Plan your Escape: Use the PhoneWatch Fire Escape Plan, to map your home and the escape routes. Keep your plan in a visible place in your home and ensure all in the home are aware of it.
- Fire Drill: Discuss your escape route with children and practise it at least twice a year.
- Be careful: Avoid the obvious dangers such as leaving flames unattended, and overloading plug sockets.
For further information on fire safety and prevention visit PhoneWatch.ie
Notes to the editor:
1. 2017 Fatalities for Fire Report is available on the website of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (here)
2. Family Fire Safety Page: https://www.phonewatch.ie/security-guides-advice/family-fire-safety-plan/
3. Family Fire Safety Planner download: https://sapublicweb.azurewebsites.net/media/201407/phonewatch_fire_safety_plan.pdf