A comprehensive review into a rise in the number of fatal fires in Nottinghamshire has pledged to increase the number of home visits paid to vulnerable people.
In 2018, 10 people died in seven fires, including three – a mother and two children in the Collingham house fire tragedy.
In 2016, there were six fatalities and in 2017 there were seven.
Now, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service has reviewed its approach to prevention.
One of the preventative tactics the service plans to step up is known as Safe and Well Visits (SWVs)
Using targeted information, they plan to visit 6,000 houses of people they think may be at a higher risk of fire – an increase of 50 percent from last year.
Craig Parkin is the force’s deputy chief fire officer. Speaking about the review today he said: “I want to ensure such tragedies are not forgotten, and that we use them to learn and guide what we do with partners and across communities.
“This is very much about being transparent and obvious about the level of fire fatalities we’ve had over the last year, which has seen in relative terms a dramatic increase.
“What the fatal fire review is doing is making sure that rather than just doing a serious event review each time there is a fatality, that we look at all the fire fatalities over that period of time, just to make sure our prevention agenda is actually targeting the right people, and that we are using the right data to help us to do that.
“We don’t want to hide the fact there have been fire fatalities. There are families who have lost loved ones, and we want to make sure we are one part in that which is trying to make things better for communities.”
After the Collingham fire, hundreds of home safety visits were carried out, but Mr Parkin said he was ‘shocked’ at how low the levels of smoke alarm ownership were in the village – just 57 percent.
He said he was ‘humbled’ at how many back-office admin, finance and HR members of staff joined the operation to re-assure residents after the fire, and carry out safe and well checks.
After four days, 234 smoke detectors had been fitted and 171 SWVs were carried out.
Some members of staff are still receiving ‘emotional support’ following the tragedy, Mr Parkin said.
Councillor Francis Purdue-Horan represents Bingham East for the Conservatives, and sits on the community safety panel, which heard about the review on Friday, March 22.
He said: “By no means are we suggesting there is a crisis. Deaths have fallen dramatically over the last few decades, and as a society we’re in a much better place, so it’s just keeping an eye on complacency.”