FIRE prevention education has led to a halving of the number of incidents attended by Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) over the past ten years.
The county’s fire stations dealt with 8,514 incidents in 2003 but that number fell to 4,399 in 2013 – a drop of 48 per cent.
Over this period more than 100,000 free home safety visits have been completed, during which CFRS staff fit smoke detectors if necessary, deliver basic fire prevention advice and devise an escape plan in the event of fire.
Firefighters and volunteers also work directly with communities across the county in a range of settings including schools and colleges, young farmers groups, youth clubs and WI groups to spread fire and road safety messages.
Coun Barry Doughty, CCC’s cabinet member for the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “These figures highlight the tremendous success of our ongoing drive to put prevention before cure when it comes to fire safety.
“While the Fire Service is on hand to respond to emergencies, the best way to tackle fires and other incidents such as road traffic collisions is to prevent them from happening in the first place and we’ve been very successful in achieving that goal over the past 10 years.”
Cumbria’s Chief Fire Officer Ian Cartwright said: “Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service staff should be very proud of their work in massively reducing the number of incidents, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the public taking on board and acting on our safety messages and advice.
“While these statistics make pleasing reading, we’ll continue striving to push the numbers down even further and deliver the best service possible for the people of Cumbria.”
Last year CFRS launched Home Accident Reduction Team (HART) visits to help people, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, minimise the risks of house fires and address home safety-related issues such as preventing falls and addressing mobility problems.
Until the launch of HART CFRS carried out home safety visits, focussing mainly on fire prevention and what to do in the event of a blaze breaking out. But HART, which sees the Fire Service work closely with partner agencies such as the NHS and Age UK to share information and resources, has expanded the scope of the home safety visits.
As part of the HART scheme, residents can now gauge their fire safety risk by filling in an online assessment on the CFRS website.
The online assessment, which takes around five minutes to complete, is then used by CFRS to determine whether a personal home safety visit is required or if relevant precautions are already being taken which can be supplemented by advice available online.
To carry out the HART online web assessment visit https://secure3.cumbria.gov.uk/surveys/cumbria/firehomesafetyv5.htm
Alternatively call freephone 0800 358 4777 to complete the survey over the telephone.