There has been an ever growing concern to raise awareness among the people regarding house fires. Even Health Minister Edwin Poots has been under a lot of pressure to renew the advertising findings. Due to announced cuts by the government, there was a break in the Government advertising on house fires. During this break, the number of fire death among the elderly in Northern Ireland soared highlighting the need for these initiatives to make the general population aware of the hazardous effects.
Edwin Poots has been under a consideration to request for more funds from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for more than a month. According to his department, a decision on this matter is imminent. While the advertising was suspended due to shortage of funds, there were six pensioners who died house fires between March 6 and the end of April. The homes of all these people who died had fire and smoke alarms. What is more profound is that fact that when the advertisings were on-air during the whole financial year of 2010/11, there were just 11 house fire deaths, which account to less than 1 a month.
But an NIFRS spokeswoman brushed all these claims stating that there is no link between the suspension of advertising and these rise in house fires. Although he conceded, "TV and newspaper advertising campaign is a very powerful way of getting safety messages out there to the whole public".
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford said that the fire department has been engaging with the residents of the neighborhoods and meeting with groups of older people around 20 times since the start of the year. They have been providing them with leaflets and safety checks.