Get switched on to our new electrical fire safety campaign

Posted 19/04/2013 14:10:36

A family of seven who were rescued through their window following an electrical fire in their Barmouth home is joining forces with local firefighters to appeal to residents across the region to 'Get switched on to fire safety!'

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is today (Friday 19th April 2013) launching its brand new electrical safety campaign which has the full backing of the Griffith family in an effort to help highlight the importance of being as safe as possible in the home.

The 'Get switched on to fire safety!' campaign will see fire and rescue service staff visiting supermarkets across north wales to talk to shoppers about the importance of fire safety. Shoppers will be asked to undertake a quick electrical safety quiz, and in exchange will be presented with a useful extension lead along with advice on how to use appliances safely.

The Griffith family is featured in the campaign to help illustrate how a fire can strike anywhere, anytime.

Back in February this year, Mum Dawn Griffith, 40, her husband Daniel Griffith, 36 and children Charlie Burgess, 17, Pipi Griffith, 6 and Daniel Griffith,2 along with her visiting niece Poppy Jones, 5 and Poppy's fatherDavid Jones, 30, became trapped inside their flat on Barmouth High Street as flames blocked their only point of escape.

Smoke detectors fitted by local firefighters raised the alarm and enabled the safe rescue of the family through a window after they became the victims of a fire which originated in a washing machine one evening.

Mum Dawn called 999 after she was alerted by her husband Daniel, and as she remained on the phone whilst crews were mobilised she was given fire survival advice by control operator Dafydd Roberts as firefighters rushed to the scene to assist the family down a ladder to safety. (You can listen to the 999 call made by Dawn here.).

She said: "I just honestly thought something like that would never happen to us. Fires happen to other people, not you - or at least that's what I thought.

"I'd never had a free home fire safety check so I'd never thought about how I'd get out if there was a fire.  Now I think fire escape plans are so important - in the middle of all the panic, knowing what to do and where to go really could mean the difference between life and death. I've made all my sisters and family think about how they'd escape if there was a fire now.

"Thankfully we had a smoke alarm fitted as the fire crews had installed them before we moved in. The alarms gave us a warning and meant we could call 999 to get help. If the smoke alarms hadn't gone off, I can't bear to think what could have happened.

"Smoke alarms saved my whole family. From one mum to all the other mums out there, I'd appeal to everyone to make sure your smoke alarms are working and that you know how you'd get out if there was a fire in your home.

"The work the fire and rescue service does is brilliant- I can't thank them enough. By supporting this campaign, I'm hoping that we can help get their life saving messages out to as many people as possible." Gary Brandrick, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: "We attend around 470 accidental fires in dwellings each year and electricity or electrical items are responsible for over 300 of these fires.

"Around 90 of these fires are due to electrical faults - but the majority are caused by misuse of the electrical items. It's important to operate appliances according to the manufacturers' instructions and to check electrical items and leads for signs of damage or wear. So many residents use old or dangerous electrical items and overload their sockets, causing a potentially fatal fire risk.

"This is why we felt that it was important to get the electrical safety message out to our residents. By visiting the supermarkets we're able to meet and talk to people from across the region and by issuing the free extension leads along with relevant advice we're hoping that we can help cut the number of electrical fires.

"We're really grateful to theGriffithfamily for sharing their story. Without smoke alarms, we could have been dealing with an unthinkable tragedy in Barmouth - their story really proves how important it is to have working smoke alarms fitted and a practised escape route in place so that you and your family can exit quickly in the event of a fire.

"Everyone thinks that a fire will never happen to them - but the story of theGriffithfamily shows that fires such as this can happen to anyone. My advice is to get prepared and stay safe - we hope that this campaign will be key in getting this important message out to our communities acrossNorth Wales.

"And why not give our 'ampage' calculator on our website and facebook page a go - it tells you if you are overloading your sockets and helps you to stay electrically safe."

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service will be visiting the following supermarkets from 10am until 3pm on Fridays over several weeks as part of the electrical fire safety campaign:

Conwy and Denbighshire

17th May - Conwy - Asda Llandudno

31st May - Denbighshire - Morrisons Rhyl

Wrexham and Flintshire

3rd May- Wrexham - Asda Wrexham

7th  June - Flintshire- Asda Queensferry

Gwynedd and Môn

10th May - YnysMôn - Asda Llangefni

14th June -  Morrisons Caernarfon

For advice on electrical fire safety and to try out our new ampage calculator to tot up you appliances,please visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or www.facebook.com/Northwalesfireservice.

For a free home fire safety check, where new smoke alarms will be fitted where needed totally free of charge, please call the 24 hour hotline on 0800 1691243, email cfs@nwales-fireservice.org.uk, visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or text or text 88365, prefixing the message with the word HFSC.

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