Dramatic drop in fire deaths but malicious false alarms remain “unacceptably high”

There has been a dramatic reduction in the number of recorded fire-related deaths and emergency calls-outs during the last five years, according to figures released at a Dundalk conference

There has been a dramatic reduction in the number of recorded fire-related deaths and emergency calls-outs during the last five years, according to figures released at a Dundalk conference

Figures released by the CFOA at its annual conference in Dundalk on Wednesday, May 9 showed that on average the number of fire-related call outs dropped by 14%.

Meanwhile, the number of road traffic accidents attended by Fire Services throughout Ireland decreased by 24% between 2007 and 2011.

Last year, there were 1,534 call outs in Co Louth, down from 1,653 in 2010, and 1,950 in 2007. The CFOA added, however, that its survey of over 20 County and Fire Rescue Service units indicated that the number of malicious false alarm call-outs remained “unacceptably high”, accounting for 3% of the estimated 50,000 call outs around the country during 2011.

The conference was officially opened by Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan, who spoke about the interaction between the Fire Service and Community and Voluntary sectors in improving public safety.

Minister Hogan referred to the “Keeping Communities Safe” and “CAMP” consultation documents that will be used by Government to finalise national policy in relation to the future role of the Fire Service later this summer.

“Across all services we need to re-appraise our service delivery structures to ensure we have the best structures for effective delivery,” he said.

“Public services, such as the fire services, are evaluated by reference to their contribution to society, efficiency and value-for-money.

“In this context we must be able to demonstrate value-for-money in the e260 million of revenue which local authorities spend on their fire services every year.”

‘New Horizons for the Fire and Rescue Service of the Future’ was the theme of this year’s two-day CFOA conference, held in Dundalk’s Ballymascanlon House Hotel.

Topics discussed included the provision of combined fire and ambulance service, an effective building control system, operational risk taking, and the use of computer fire models.