The number of people receiving free home fire safety advice across the county has significantly increased since a new partnership between Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service and Wiltshire Council was set up this spring.

A fleet of vans was loaned by the council to the Fire & Rescue Service  to enable more trained community safety technicians to visit people in their own homes. Almost 400 visits have been made using these vehicles, which has ensured that fire safety advice has been given to many more households than might otherwise been the case.

During a home fire safety check, the trained FRS technicians give advice on reducing the risk of accidental fires and what to do should fire break out. They also supply and fit smoke alarms free of charge where appropriate.

John Popowicz, Area Manager for Partnerships at Wiltshire FRS, said: “Having the use of these vans has made it far easier for us to reach more people than we would do normally.

!"The vehicles will be even more vital as we come into the winter months, as they will allow us to follow up referrals from flu clinics – we have done this in previous years, but a shortage of transport has always limited where we could go. Home fire safety checks are essential to protecting the more vulnerable members of our community, and being able to do more can only benefit the people we serve.”

The visits include making people aware of potential fire risk and safety hazards within the home, educating householders on what to do in order to prevent or reduce fires, helping families put together a night time routine of shutting internal doors and making sure electrical appliances are switched off, helping householders develop an escape plan in case a fire does break out and ensuring appropriate numbers of working smoke alarms are present in the property and fitting smoke alarms free of charge if required.

John Thomson, cabinet member for adult care, communities and housing and ward member for Sherston where there have been two major fires nearby recently welcomed the figures.

He said: "Pooling resources like this really works as we can see in just six months hundreds of people have had visits to their homes to receive fire safety advice, helping to prevent fire-related accidents or deaths. No one is immune from fires and it’s important that people take advantage of this service and get the advice they need to keep themselves and their homes safe.”

Maggie Rae, corporate joint director of public health and wellbeing, said: "We had prioritised funding to ensure more advisers can be out on the road delivering this service. An increase in home fire safety visits means more people being aware of what they need to do to stay safe in their homes."

To apply for a home fire safety check call 0800 389 7849 or click here