Council homes in South Tyneside are being made safer from fire thanks to a partnership between Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and South Tyneside Homes.

Fire and rescue service officers have begun training staff from South Tyneside Homes to provide home safety checks and fit smoke alarms in its properties as part of its annual inspection programme. It's an initiative that will see over 18,000 homes in South Tyneside safer from fire over the next 12 months - over 30% of the total number of homes in the area.

Training will also be given on offering advice on how to test the smoke alarms once they have been fitted.  Tyne and Wear FRS staff will provide ongoing training and quality assurance checks to ensure high quality fitting standards are maintained.

District Manager for South Tyneside Ian Robertson, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We're delighted to be working with South Tyneside Homes on this initiative.  It makes sense to join forces and train the staff who are already going into these homes. The relationship that they have with the tenants and the fact that they will be returning on an annual basis to check things like gas and electrical supplies and the maintenance of the properties will bring real benefits.  It means that smoke alarms can be maintained regularly, in addition to encouraging occupiers to test them weekly.

"There is no doubt that a having a working smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death, giving tenants an early warning of fire and vital minutes to escape. You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you don't have a smoke alarm. Our aim is that every household in Tyne and Wear should have one fitted - this scheme is another example of our innovative approach to achieving this aim."

South Tyneside Homes' Director of Investment, Mark Whittle, said: "Keeping tenants safe in their homes is one of our top priorities. As we already visit all the homes we manage and maintain to carry out an annual safety inspection, it is 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. The new partnership will also mean we can make use of the positive relationships we have with our tenants to continuously promote home fire safety."


Posted: 09.25am, 14.03.11