Hundreds of Clare primary school students will receive fire safety awareness lessons during the coming months under a programme being administered locally by Clare County Fire and Rescue Service.
The information sessions form part of a nationwide programme entitled ‘Safety Team’, which is designed to teach third class children to educate their families about Fire Safety and about protecting homes and communities from fire.
The programme was launched this week at Cranny National School and will be rolled out to Clare’s remaining 118 primary schools during 2013.
“The age at which a child receives a fire safety lesson is important,” explained Colum Frawley, Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Clare County Fire & Rescue Service.
“Experience has shown that if the child is too young then he/she may not fully understand the message and, secondly, the child may become frightened. Children of 8 or 9 years old are more open to messages of fire safety and, if educated early enough, are less likely to progress into activities such as false alarms and arson,” he added.
Commenting on the ‘Safety Team’ Programme, Mr. Frawley said: “Participating schoolchildren are expected, as part of their homework, to interact with their families on the elements of the programme. Each child is provided with a Home Safety Check Sheet, which must be filled out by a family member in the home. This completed Home Safety Check Sheet is evidence of the key fire safety message reaching inside the home and is also a valuable resource for statistical purposes. This interaction puts the problem and the solution together in the same place at the same time, making it more likely that any fire safety problems will be successfully addressed in the future.”
Mr. Frawley stated that the roll out of fire safety awareness programmes across the County, including the Community Smoke Alarm Scheme and National Fire Safety Week, has contributed to an overall reduction in the number of fire incidents attended by Clare’s Fire and Rescue Service during recent years.
821 incidents were attended by the Fire Service during 2012, representing a 10% decrease on call-outs in 2011. 46% of all incidents were fire-related while 20% related to road traffic accidents.
“It is essential that every home in Clare has a working smoke alarm fitted. Tragically, however, over 20% of homes in this country have no working smoke alarm – that is more than 320,000 homes. A smoke alarm will not prevent fires happening but it will warn people that it is happening and it will give them time to get out. The ‘Safety Team’ Programme will deliver this message to children so they can in turn educate their families,” Mr. Frawley concluded.
Clare County Fire and Rescue Service is currently made up of 9 Senior Fire Officers, 1 Wholetime Officer and 77 Retained Firefighters. The Service fleet consists of 32 vehicles including Class B Fire Appliances, Water Tankers, Aerial Rescue Vehicles and 4-Wheel Drives. The Service Headquarters is located at Central Fire Station, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare.