A home safety initiative jointly delivered by South Tyneside Homes and Tyne & Wear FRS has ensured over a quarter of council homes in the area have reduced fire risk compared to last year.

More than 18,200 homes have benefited from home safety checks since May last year as part of the housing company's annual inspection programme with checks including general fire safety advice and fitting smoke alarms where needed with specialist training from TWFRS.

The Service's District Manager for South Tyneside, Ian Robertson, said: "It is fantastic news that over 18,000 homes are now safer from fire thanks to this partnership. It made perfect sense to work in partnership and train the staff who are already going into these homes.

"You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you don't have a smoke alarm. Our aim is for every household in Tyne and Wear to have one fitted - this scheme is another example of our innovative approach to achieving this aim."

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that around 15 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of gas appliances that aren't properly maintained.

Between April 2011 and the end of March, the housing company achieved their target of ensuring that all of the homes it manages have a valid gas safety certificate.

Isobel Riley, Chief Executive for South Tyneside Homes, said: "Keeping tenants safe in their homes is our top priority. As we already visit all of the homes we manage and maintain to carry out an annual safety inspection, it was a logical step to use the skills of our own workforce to complete the additional safety checks on behalf of the Fire and Rescue Service.

"It is also a fantastic achievement that we were able to complete a full gas service in every home last financial year. We would like to remind tenants that we will take legal action against anyone that does not give us access to their home to complete their gas service."

Posted 17/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com