Fire Safety in the Community
Fire kills. We know this we’ve all had it drilled into us since childhood. We know not to play with matches or smoke in bed. But every year, in every community, there are fires that kill people.One thing that can truly help a community is to be educated and helped with fire safety. It can save property and, more importantly, lives, sometimes those of the most helpless, the very young and the very old.
Your, or your community group, can work with the Fire Service to cut down the incidence of fires in your community. Obviously, it’s impossible to eliminate them totally, but the more you do, the safer you can make your neighbourhood.
Smoke AlarmsEvery house or flat should have at least one smoke alarm (carbon monoxide alarms are also a good idea), that’s checked regularly, and batteries changed twice a year unless it’s wired into the mains (change when the hour goes ahead and falls back – it’s easy to remember that way).
The Fire Service used to give away thousands of smoke alarms every year, but budget cuts have meant they often can’t afford to these days. A community group could organise a fundraiser to buy some and distribute them to, say, the elderly and those with young children – even better if you have volunteers willing to fit them and show people how to use them properly. It’s a worthy cause, and you can probably find a good deal with a manufacturer or wholesaler (contact the Fire Service, they might also be able to help).
Fire SafetyOne thing local firemen are always willing to do is visit houses and advise on ways to make them safer against fire. Unfortunately, often the most vulnerable don’t know about this service, so they can’t take advantage of it.
A community group can identify these people, and liaise between them and the Fire Service, setting up appointments for the firemen to come to the house, and also to put their recommendations into effect, and make sure the residents know how to use alarms, escape ladders and so on. That’s very positive community action.
Also try organising community meetings, such as a Fire Awareness Day, where firemen can talk to local residents about fire safety and illustrate ways people can make their houses safer. Make use of your local community centre and make sure the event is well publicised in the neighbourhood. Remember, it’s in the interests of the Fire Service to undertake this kind of education as it can stop them having to fight a blaze later.
Foster good relations with your local fire station. Take round some home baked goods or something similar, let them know they’re appreciated – they put their lives on the line every time they tackle a fire.
You could also talk to the fire station about organising an open day there. Have your community group arrange snacks and refreshments. It’s an opportunity for the community to meet the firemen, and especially for the kids to have a look at the fire engine – something guaranteed to enthrall them. Although it might not seem like much, it helps make the Fire Service part of the community.