Fire safety education left in ‘limbo’

NO SINGLE body is promoting fire safety educational programmes and media campaigns now the National Safety Council is being subsumed into a new body, a leading safety campaigner said yesterday.

Twenty-five years after the Stardust disaster, it is unforgivable that fire safety promotion has been left in “limbo”, according to the NSC’s former chairperson, Waterford city councillor Mary Roche.

Until the disbanding of the NSC Board on December 31 last, its Fire Safety Committee effectively directed all educational programmes, media campaigns and community activities on fire safety.

Cllr Roche said: “It is important we cover all the bases on fire safety promotion because every death is a death too many - and in many cases, it is also preventable.

“The NSC has been disbanded and subsumed into this new Road Safety Authority and the role which we played in education, advertising, publicity and fire prevention promotion is now left un-done.”

She contends that no discussions had taken place between the Fire Safety Committee and the Department of the Environment into whose lap this work must now fall.

The Fire Safety Committee carried out research, education and advertising in the area of fire safety and organised and ran Fire Safety Week every October.

Cllr Roche said: “My great fear is that no-one will take up the fire promotion mantle and give it the attention it merits.

“Most fire fatalities could have been prevented by the presence of a working smoke alarm.”

The Department of the Environment’s website says the NSC promotes road and fire safety.

“The NSC implements education programmes, media campaigns and community activities to positively influence public attitude and behaviour in relation to Road and Fire Safety issues,” the site says.

The Road Safety Authority’s site makes no mention of any responsibility for fire safety or its promotion.

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