'A working smoke alarm is vital': Cork public urged to test smoke alarms every week

Crews from Cork County Council’s Fire Service attended 1,828 incidents in 2020. 
'A working smoke alarm is vital': Cork public urged to test smoke alarms every week

Louis Duffy, Director of Services (Emergency Services), Cork County Council; Rob Moloney, Firefighter, Bandon Fire Brigade, Cork County Fire Service; Sophie Donellan, Senior Infants, Crossmahon N.S. (Winner of the 2020 Fire Safety Week Art Competition); Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan, and Seamus Coughlan, Chief Fire Officer, Cork County Fire Service, pictured at Bandon Fire Station showing the importance of working smoke alarms as part of this year’s Fire Safety Week. Picture: Michael O'Sullivan /OSM PHOTO

The Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan is calling on the people of County Cork to test their smoke alarms every week to protect themselves and their homes from fire.

The call to action coincides with Fire Safety Week, which is run jointly with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, and takes place until October 11 and focuses on fire safety in the home.

According to the emergency services, most house fires start in the living room. 

The most common time for a fatal fire to occur is from midnight to 2am and most fatal fires occur during the winter months.

In 2020, fire claimed the lives of 29 people in Ireland. 

Attendance at fire incidents in Cork

Crews from Cork County Council’s Fire Service attended 1,828 incidents in 2020. Of these, 326 were fire-related incidents in homes.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Gillian Coughlan highlighted how the statistics emphasise the importance of having working smoke alarms in the home.

“Nationally, there has been a decline in fire-related deaths over the past 15 years due to general fire safety awareness together with the uptake in domestic smoke alarms. Households should have at least one smoke alarm on every floor which must be tested regularly to confirm it is working and can alert people when needed.” 

Paul Griffin is the Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Cork County Council. He added: “While house fires in Cork County were down when compared to recent years, such fires still represent a significant risk to people, especially those living alone and those over 65. Sadly, there were 29 fatalities from fires across the country in 2020 with all but one of these occurring in homes. There were no smoke alarms present in half of these homes while another quarter had a smoke alarm, but it was found to be not working. A working smoke alarm is vital to alert or wake you in the event of a fire.” 

Colouring competition

As part of National Fire Safety Week, Cork County Council’s Fire Service is running a colouring and art competition for primary school children. Children in junior infants to second class can choose from several sets of pictures to colour while older students in third to sixth class can draw a picture or design a poster showing an important fire safety message or slogan. Winners will be picked from each class. The prizes include toy vouchers and home fire safety equipment.

Further details are available on the Cork County Fire Service Facebook page. A selection of entries will be featured on the page each week. The competition will run until Friday, October 29, with the winners announced in November.

For further fire safety tips and advice, please follow Cork County Fire Service on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.firesafetyweek.ie.

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