Housing association teams up with fire service on life-saving campaign

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A major campaign has been launched urging people living in Llandudno to report potential fire risks like hoarding.

Housing association Cartrefi Conwy has joined forces with the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service to get the message out to residents about reducing the risk of fire hazards in their homes.

The ‘Tell us before it’s too late’ campaign unveiled by the fire service is being aimed at residents in Llandudno where many of the housing association’s 3,900 properties are located.

The two organisations are calling on them to get in touch if they suspect potential fire risks in their neighbourhoods, including hoarding and people smoking in bed.

Cartrefi Conwy has a long-standing partnership with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and four of their apprentices visited the fire service control room in St Asaph which is shares with North Wales Police.

The four were chosen because they work closely with the fire service covering areas such as gas and smoke alarm inspections and as part of the vital partnership the fire service also has a home fire safety officer on permanent secondment to Cartrefi Conwy.

Chad Rogerson, the fire service’s partnership manager for Conwy and Denbighshire, spent two years in that role at Cartrefi Conwy and he said: “This is one of our most successful partnerships and its aim is to protect and make safer communities across North Wales.

“We partner with Cartrefi Conwy to work smarter and help their tenants, many of whom are older people or are vulnerable, to live safer lives.

“It’s about helping people to stay in their own homes rather than have to go into care and we are heavily involved in the fire safety campaign with their communities and in signposting them to other support agencies.

“The Tell us before it’s too late’ campaign is based around tenants, neighbours etc. who are worried about certain properties and fire risks. The hope is that they will report concerns which can be followed up in the hope that fire risks can be reduced.

“More often than not the main killer in fires is smoke inhalation, getting a couple of lungful’s of toxic smoke from materials in the room so the usual advice is to stay low and get to a window.

“But our focus is on preventing incidents and working so closely with Cartrefi Conwy staff means that they can encourage their tenants to be safe in their homes and to look out for potential fire risks among their neighbours.”

Cartrefi Conwy’s partnership with the fire service is celebrating its fifth anniversary and among the apprentices visiting the control room was Kristyn Roberts, 38, from Llysfaen, who is an administration apprentice in Neighbourhood Services.

During her apprenticeship, Kristyn is also working part time as an Independent Living Coordinator supporting tenants in Abergele and Old Colwyn and in this role organises fire safety checks and alarm tests.

She said: “It’s been really useful for me to come and see how the Fire Service control room operates even if hopefully I never have to be involved with it.

“We do work really well together to provide our tenants with the necessary equipment and advice to keep them safe and confident to live in their own homes.”

Dan Twitchett, 27, from Glan Conwy, an apprentice in the Property and Maintenance Department, said: “It has underlined the importance of the safety work we do.

“One of my key roles is with gas servicing which helps ensure that tenants are safe in their homes and we also check smoke alarms and again that’s so important because of the role they play in saving lives.”

Kevin Jones, Community Safety Manager for Conwy and Denbighshire, added: “Our job is to help prevent fires from happening in the first place – and this is where we need the help of local residents.

“We want people to contact us if they know someone who is at risk so that we can step in to help prevent a fire happening and hopefully to save lives.

“The signs to look out for include, for example, smoking in bed, forgetting about the cooking, hoarding, someone who often comes home after a few drinks and attempts to cook. These all increase the risk of a fire.

“Our plea is simple; please don’t ignore the signs – if you think someone is at risk then pick up the phone to tell us. All information will be treated confidentially.

“Don’t leave it too late – don’t let someone you know become the next person to die in a house fire. By working together in this way we could save a life.”

Caption: Cartrefi- 1 and 2 Cartrefi Conwy Apprentices visit NWFRS Communication Centre,National Apprenticeship week; Pictured are (L/R) Kristyn Roberts, Ryan Pope, Jen Ellis-Davies and Chad Rogerson from NWFRS, Maya Waud and Dan Twitchett.