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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is launching Operation Ignition on Monday 16th September, to encourage greater smoke alarm ownership within the Chirton and Riverside Wards in North Tyneside. Throughout the 5 days, operational crews, prevention and education staff and volunteers will be on hand to provide residents with advice to help them keep themselves and their families safe from a fire in their home.

Chirton and Riverside are in the top ten of wards within Tyne and Wear to suffer from accidental fires in the home, most of which have started in the kitchen. Therefore the Operation is targeting 1887 domestic properties which may not have a smoke alarm and might not have had a Home Safety Check.

Group Manager Grant Brotherton, TWFRS Head of Prevention and Education commented:

“Smoke alarms save lives. But to do so you need to have one on every level of your property, and they need to be regularly tested. This Operation will target homes where we currently don’t believe there are any smoke alarms – so we’ll check existing smoke alarms and install new smoke alarms where needed.

While deaths from fires are fortunately rare in Tyne and Wear, sadly we recorded 5 fatalities in 2018/19. Thorough investigations into the causes and the contributing factors identified that smoke alarms were a common denominator – including not having smoke alarms or having smoke alarms that weren’t working. Therefore it’s essential that we visit as many homes as possible to test and install smoke alarms and to listen to the concerns of residents on how to keep their home safe from a fire.

Jeff Boath, TWFRS Station Manager for Tynemouth and Wallsend, commented

“We will provide helpful advice on how to keep homes safe from a fire – everything from not overloading electrical sockets, night-time routines, to making sure that there is an agreed escape route should a fire occur.”

The operation also has the support of local partners, including North Tyneside Council.

Carole Burdis, North Tyneside Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Community Safety, said: “The safety of our residents is always of utmost priority to the council, so we are delighted to be supporting our colleagues at the Fire Service as part of Operation Ignition.

“It is so important to ensure that your smoke alarms are regularly tested, it could just save your life.”

For more information on how to keep your home safe from fire, go to: https://www.twfire.gov.uk/safety-advice/home/prevent/.