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Continuing to protect our communities during lockdown

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service is once again calling on the communities of Derbyshire to consider fire safety during a third national lockdown, while also providing reassurance that work is continuing to support those same communities and reduce the risk of fire and other emergencies occurring.

During the first national lockdown in March 2020, the Service recognised that with people spending more time in the home, homes becoming crowded with children home schooling and families working from home in make-shift offices, the risk of a fire increased due to distractions, increase in electrical appliances being used and generally people being in their homes for longer periods of time. With the announcement of a further lockdown and with this in mind, the Service is once again signposting people to its website, social media channels and through local media to access fire safety advice that can prevent avoidable accidental fires and other emergencies.

In addition to calling on people to access safety advice themselves, under our statutory duty to deliver services to the communities of Derbyshire and to Prevent, Protect and Respond as outlined in the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, the Service is continuing to deliver safe and well checks to those identified as most vulnerable to the risk of fire and our protection teams will be out in the community visiting businesses and properties.

Speaking shortly after the Prime Ministers address to the nation, Area Manager Rob Taylor said: “The role of the fire and rescue service is to keep people safe and we do this by working to prevent and protect our communities from fire and other emergencies and by providing an emergency response when needed.

“It’s important that in addition to taking a personal responsibility for their own safety our communities know that despite the lockdown, Firefighters, Community Safety Officers, Business Safety Advisors, Fire Inspectors, Fire Control Operators and our professional support teams are all continuing to carry out their daily work that contributes to a safer Derbyshire.

“Like many key workers including those working in the NHS, our emergency services colleagues in the police and ambulance service, teachers and vital retail workers keeping essential shops open, our staff are continuing to deliver our face-to-face services that are essential to the safety of our communities.

“We appreciate somebody entering your home or premises to carry out a Safe and Well visit, or risk assessment may be a daunting prospect at this time. Please be assured that our staff have the correct PPE and training to engage in a safe and controlled manner. Where this is not possible we will adopt alternative means of engagement to ensure that your safety remains paramount.”

Mr Taylor went onto reflect on recent incidents across Derbyshire that underline the importance of the face-to-face interventions and the work undertaken by the Service to prevent emergencies happening, he said: “In December our crews attended three separate fatal fires, sadly fatal fires that underline the importance of the safe and well checks that we carry out, targeting people in our communities that we know are at greater risk of fire. 

“These incidents serve as a stark reminder that fire does kill and emphasises the need for us to continue our work to deliver as many safe and well checks as possible, continue to carry out our risk-based inspection programme and to raise as much awareness about fire safety as possible.”

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service would like to remind people of the following:

  • Ensure you have a working smoke alarm fitted on the ceiling on every level of your home
  • Test smoke alarms are working on a weekly basis
  • What would you do in the event of a fire – think about an escape plan and ensure everyone in your home knows how to get out, to stay out and call 999
  • Ensure you don’t overload electrical sockets – check out the Electrical Safety Council socket calculator here
  • Don’t leave cooking unattended, no matter what the distraction
  • Don’t leave electrical items charging overnight
  • If you’re a smoker – ensure you use a proper ash tray
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the way of children
  • When you’re done, ensure your cigarette is put right out!

In addition the Service would like to call on people who care for and keep an eye on elderly family, friends or neighbours to visit (where possible) or call them to check:

  • They have working smoke alarms fitted
  • Check when they were last tested
  • They are still adhering to routines and safe practices in the home, or if something has changed that this is still safe,
  • They know how to get out of their home should a fire break out
  • Ensure they understand the importance of getting out of the home, staying out and calling 999 – no one should ever tackle a fire themselves

If you have concerns about someone fire safety you can visit https://www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/safety/at-home where information about DIY safe and well checks as well as information about referring someone for a safe and well check is available.

In addition to home safety, the Service provides advice and guidance in respect of fire safety at work and other places.  For guidance and information to help business meet their legal requirements visit https://www.derbys-fire.gov.uk/safety/business

For more information about keeping safe and the work carried out by the Service to Make Derbyshire Safer Together visit www.derbys-fire.gov.uk or follow us on social media @DerbyshireFRS