Campaign to reduce Shropshire house fires

8th May, 2006

The Red Cross is the latest county organisation to join Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service in its successful campaign to reduce house fires.

The county fire service has been recruiting organisations which send out visitors to people's homes and training them to carry out simple fire risk assessments to help identify vulnerable householders.

The Red Cross members now join other home visitors such as community nurses, social welfare teams, and council officers' who are all helping to reduce the risk from fire.

They each fill out a brief fire risk assessment form when making a routine visit to determine if the occupant needs a smoke alarm fitting and would benefit from a detailed visit by a fire prevention officer.

Householders are asked about working smoke alarms, the safety of kitchen appliances, wiring, smoking and if there is an escape route.

"It is all about getting to as many people as possible to educate them about fire safety. With the help of the Red Cross and all these other organisations, we are able to identify any householder who may be at risk and we can fit a smoke alarm for them free of charge and ensure that they are protected from the risk of fire," said Alison Teece, Older Person's Officer at Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service.

"Everybody has been very keen to help on this project. Working in partnership with all these different organisations means that we have more eyes and ears out there to help those who need help."

Grace Cookson, Red Cross co-ordinator for the Home from Hospital scheme, visits people just coming out of hospital to discuss practical support for them, which now includes the fire risk assessment.

"People who we visit seem more than happy to answer our questions about fire risks in their home. It helps make everyone more aware of the risk of fires starting, and how we can all work together to make environments safer."