| 15.7°C Belfast

Fire chief's plea as house blazes increase by 8.5% in Northern Ireland

Close

The number of accidental house fires across Northern Ireland has increased by 8.5% over the past year, according to official new figures. (Rui Vieira/PA)

The number of accidental house fires across Northern Ireland has increased by 8.5% over the past year, according to official new figures. (Rui Vieira/PA)

The number of accidental house fires across Northern Ireland has increased by 8.5% over the past year, according to official new figures. (Rui Vieira/PA)

The number of accidental house fires across Northern Ireland has increased by 8.5% over the past year, according to official new figures.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) has revealed there were 896 such incidents here in 2017/18 compared to 824 in 2016/17.

Four people lost their lives over the last 12 months as a result of house fires.

Over the last three years firefighters have attended 2,561 accidental house fires, with more than two thirds caused by cooking appliances, electrical equipment and smoking.

While smoking accounted for 6% of all accidental house fires, it accounted for 60% of fire deaths between 2015 and 2018.

The statistics have been released by the NIFRS to coincide with Fire Safety Week, which starts today.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley appealed to people to take precautions to ensure they do not fall victim to an accidental blaze in their home.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

"Last year accidental fire deaths were at their lowest on record - four people tragically lost their lives in 2017/18, a 66% decrease from two years previous when 12 people died in accidental house fires," he said.

"Whilst we welcome this reduction in deaths, we are concerned to see an increase in the number of accidental house fires, and this Fire Safety Week we are concentrating our efforts to remind people about the obvious dangers and the main causes of accidental house fires.

"Many people mistakenly think that an accidental house fire will never happen to them.

"We speak to many people after we have attended fires in their homes and they are shocked at the ease and speed at which fire can spread.

"With cooking, electrical and smoking-related as the top three causes, we are asking people to follow our simple fire safety advice."

Cooking appliances accounted for 38% of accidental house fires and the NIFRS has asked that people do not leave them unattended when in use, reminding them to turn off hobs and ovens when not in use.

If using a chip pan, the advice is never to throw water onto an oil-based fire.

With electrical equipment and supply accounting for a quarter of all accidental fires, the NIFRS has urged householders not to overload sockets.

It has also advised people not to leave electrical appliances - such as dishwashers or washing machines - running overnight or when they are not at home.

Mr Walmsley continued: "Smoking materials accounted for 6% of accidental house fires but are actually the top cause of accidental fire deaths, with 60% of accidental fire deaths in the last three years due to smoking materials.

"Don't smoke in bed or when feeling drowsy or tired.

"Stub cigarettes out fully in an ashtray.

"Through our 'STOP Fire' campaign we continue to remind everyone about the basic fire safety measures they should take to keep safe from fire: Fit Smoke alarms, Test them every week, look out for Obvious dangers and Plan your escape routes.

"By routinely completing a number of simple fire safety steps, you can drastically reduce the risk of a fire in your home.

"The reality is that many accidental house fires could be prevented if people follow the fire safety advice we provide through our community information bulletins on our website.

"House fires have a devastating impact on people and we will continue to do all that we can to help stop fire in the home."

To find out more about fire safety, log on to the NI Fire & Rescue Service's website at www.nifrs.org


Top Videos



Privacy