10-minute response to a third of Cork fire calls

Firefighters in Cork county are responding in less than 10 minutes to one in three fires.

10-minute response to a third of Cork fire calls

The average response time in the second quarter of 2015, to 418 fires, was 15 minutes and 19 seconds.

A report for April 1 to July 1 also showed there had been 147 call-outs to non-fire emergencies, with an average response time of 16 minutes and 12 seconds.

The figures were released by Cork County Council, which is responsible for the fire service in the county region.

Compiled by chief fire officer, Seamus Coughlan, the report noted Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s plan for a joint procurement programme to buy 20 new fire appliances countrywide at a cost of €6m.

Mr Coughlan said Cork County Fire Department would be putting in a request for three new appliances. However, the new fire tenders may not be arriving as speedily as the county fire crews. Mr Kelly has indicated that the procurement programme could take three years.

Meanwhile, of the 418 incidents attended, 35.12% were reached in less than 10 minutes; 43.70% were reached within 10 minutes to 20 minutes, and 21.18% took more than 20 minutes.

In cases where emergencies did not involve fires, the fire-service crews arrived in less than 10 minutes in 30% of the call-outs.

The response time for 54% of the calls was between ten and 20 minutes, while 16% took more than 20 minutes.

Significantly, the county fire service also launched a Facebook page recently. Mr Coughlan said it was “attracting a lot of interest”.

He said Facebook had been used between April and June to bring attention to valuable fire safety advice on building control and fire-prevention matters.

“The fire department’s programme of community fire-safety presentations continued with visits to local schools and day-care centres, with the main focus, in May and June, on the utilisation of our chip pan demonstration unit to highlight the danger of chip-pan fires,” the fire chief said.

He said the department also continued to seek and engage with community groups to assist them in providing free smoke alarms to the elderly or other vulnerable persons in the region.

The council’s major emergency management committee, meanwhile, has also put together comprehensive plans to tackle any serious incidents that might occur at some of the county’s major industries.

It organises and carries out emergency exercises at a number of companies, such as Calor and Phillips 66, both at Whitegate; Carbon Chemicals at Ringaskiddy; Eli Lilly; in Dunderrow; GlaxoSmithKline at Currabinny; and BASF in Little Island.

The county council, meantime, also oversees the county’s Civil Defence organisation.

In the past three months, eight new volunteers have been recruited to the West Cork units.

Overall, units in west Cork were involved in inter-agency emergency medical technician training on Bere Island, civil defence units in south Cork participated in powerboat training, while north Cork units attended a missing persons search workshop at the Garda Training College in Templemore.

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