Fire safety - a scorching success

Community Fire Safety advocate Muhammad Sajid Younis on his rounds in Wellington

Wellington householders are warming to the idea of fire safety in the home with the help of Muhammad Sajid Younis, a multi lingual advocate from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Kashmir born Muhammad, a geography teacher from Islamabad now living in Wellington, has been hired part-time by the service to boost community fire safety in the area as part of a county wide education campaign.

He has experienced scorching success as he arrives on the doorsteps of Wellington homes. In just one week he has fitted 50 new smoke alarms to properties - supporting the fire service's very successful campaign which has seen house fires tumble across the county over the past few years.

"The response from the Wellington community has been tremendous. I have been welcomed into homes. People are very pleased that they are being made more safe from fire as a result of this campaign by the fire service," said Muhammad, who speaks a number of languages including Urdu and Punjabi.

Mohammad has used the local mosque and shops to raise awareness of his home safety checks. Word is slowly getting around and the response can be seen on the doorstep where Mohammad is warmly welcomed.

The home safety check identifies if the occupier has working smoke alarms. Free ten year smoke alarms are installed, one per level, in the hallway and landing for those without the lifesaving device. Smoke alarms have repeatedly saved lives alerting residents to a break out of fire, often at night, enabling them to escape unharmed.

Residents are also explained the need to have an escape plan as well as given general fire safety tips including putting out cigarettes and candles carefully, checking electrics and taking care with cooking.

Firefighters have visited thousand of homes in most areas of the town to get across essential fire safety messages since the campaign was first launched in Telford five years ago.

"Our aim is to visit all homes within the Wellington area over a rolling programme and Muhammad is an excellent advocate who is helping us to accomplish this," said Rabinder Dhami, Community Fire Safety Team Leader with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"Wellington consists of people from many different religions and nationalities and the fire service acknowledges that there are many residents whose first language is not necessarily English. Fire Safety education given in a range of languages, suiting individual needs, is without a doubt the way forward."

6th October, 2006