Under the scheme, the community and enterprise section of the local authority will oversee the installation of hundreds of smoke alarms in homes across the county over the coming weeks. The initiative, which forms part of the national Fire Service Change Programme, is also aimed at making Clare householders more aware of fire safety routines and potential fire hazards.
The council is asking voluntary groups/volunteers and others who visit people in vulnerable households to identify homes where there are no smoke alarms. Clare County Fire and Rescue Service will provide training to community groups on how correctly to install and advise homeowners on the maintenance of the alarms. Applications are also being invited from individual households who are in a position to install the alarms themselves.
Chief Fire Officer for Co Clare, Adrian Kelly, said: “Over the coming weeks we hope, with the assistance of the community sector, to identify vulnerable households with no working smoke alarm. It is intended that each home visited will be fitted with two self-contained 10-year smoke alarms, which are being provided free of charge by the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government.
“We are inviting all voluntary agencies and community groups in the county to contact us to avail of free smoke alarms for members of their community who would benefit most from the installation of working smoke alarms within their homes,” Mr Kelly added.
Only last week, a sleeping man had a lucky escape when a smoke alarm alerted him to fire in his Ennis home which forced him to jump to safety from an upstairs window. The man was unable to escape by using the stairs as the smoke was too thick and the heat too intense. Fire crews and gardaí believe the smoke alarm saved his life.
Clare County Fire and Rescue Service says the drop in fatal house fires in Clare in recent years is a direct result of fire safety awareness and increased usage of smoke alarms. There has been no fatal house fire in Co Clare in over two years.
There were three fatal house fires in Clare in 2008. In March of that year, two of the fires occurred within a week of each other in separate parts of the county. However, it later emerged that both victims were first cousins. A woman died in a fire at Woodcock Hill, Meelick, in July 2008.
Earlier this year in Quilty, Co Clare, an elderly man was found dead in his home following a report of a house fire. It was later confirmed that the pensioner died of natural causes.