On average 17,000 people are admitted to our hospitals following a home accident each year and countless more attend A&E Departments and GP practices.
Although falls are the most common accident cause, other hazards include poisoning, fire and smoke inhalation, strangulation (example by blind cords) drowning and choking.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) are working together to protect people most at risk from accidents in the home and will provide helpful and confidential advice to householders along with practical support.
Station Commander Alan Barr, NIFRS, explains: “While fire safety is an issue that impacts everyone, we know there are people who are at a greater risk of having an accidental house fire because of their circumstances.
"Our ‘people at risk’ definition includes those aged 50 or older, people who have a disability or impaired mobility that would impact on their ability to acknowledge and respond to a fire in their home and those people who have already been referred to NIFRS by a partnership agency.
“Our aim is to protect those most at risk by putting in place measures to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring but we cannot solve the problem alone.
"By working in partnership with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and indeed across the voluntary and health & social care sector, together we can identify people most at risk and raise awareness of fire safety across the community.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Peter Johnston, praised the joined up relationship between the two organisations.
“Home Safety Checks are carried out by Council community health and wellbeing advisors who offer tips on all aspects of home safety for those over 65 years or families with young children under 5 years. Our advisors will identify the potential risks in your home, arrange for safety equipment to be delivered to your home if appropriate and refer you for a free smoke alarm.
Similarly, we can refer people to NIFRS who would benefit from a Home Fire Safety Check. Local firefighters can visit to offer practical fire safety advice, develop fire escape plans and check and fit smoke alarms.
“This partnership approach will ultimately help save lives and helps us protect and engage directly with those in the community who need our help most.”
The Mayor continued: “Both organisations already do critical work in protecting the public from the risk of fire and other hazards in the home and this partnership will allow them to fulfil that role even more effectively by sharing information to highlight vulnerable cases and offering more people the practical advice and support they need to stay safe.
“We have a responsibility as a community to look out for the vulnerable in our society such as the elderly and disabled particularly in the longer evenings at this time of year and I would urge people to look out for each other and if they are aware of cases of people who should review their home safety to refer them to the Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Service or NIFRS.”