MORE than 90% of fire deaths in Ireland occur in the domestic setting. However single dwellings do not fall under the ambit of the Fire Services Act as enforcement of legislation in relation to fire safety in individual dwellings could be seen as unwarranted interference by the state in people’s homes.In this area, the themes and practices of what have come to be termed ‘Community Fire Safety’ and fire safety promotion are the significant means by which people are assisted in protecting their families from fire in their own homes.
There is a need to ‘manage’ fire safety such that the optimal balance between fire prevention, fire protection and fire service response is found. This is particularly true in the case of off-shore inhabited islands where the Fire Service response will be inevitably delayed.
In 2001, Cork County Council formed a three-way partnership with the residents of the Islands and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and The Islands. A seminar on Fire Safety was provided on each island with demonstrations and training in the use of Fire Extinguishers given at the island community centres. Two smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket were provided for every house on the islands. The residents arranged to have all of the equipment fitted. The cost, which was shared between Cork County Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and The Islands, amounted to just under €100 per house or €38,650 in total.
Mayor Hurley is keen to highlight the particular circumstances of the off-shore islands and how this project will reinforce the existing partnership with the Community network. “As the equipment provided by Cork County Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands in 2002 is now out of date and more than likely not functioning properly, it is the intention of Cork County Council to once again form a similar Fire Safety Partnership, with the residents of our off-shore inhabited islands and hopefully the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.”
The proposal is that each dwelling house would have the opportunity to have a fire extinguisher (2kg Dry Powder), two smoke detectors with 10 year batteries, a carbon monoxide alarm and a fire blanket supplied and fitted.
Speaking of the partnership, Mayor Hurley also noted how the Council has invited the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to join the project and contribute to the cost of providing the necessary equipment, “Cork County Council for its part will provide the necessary funding and will also provide fire safety advice; the residents, hopefully through their representatives/ Development Officers who will manage the project.”
Funding will be available to cover the cost of providing and fitting the equipment and certifying that the correct installation has been carried out, up to a maximum of €44,000. This would equate to approximately €110 per house in total. The project relates only to private dwellings and not to commercial buildings. It is the intention that the equipment would be installed in each dwelling house on the islands before the Christmas period.