Fire safety lessons save Telford mother and daughter caught up in blaze
A mother “saved her and her daughter’s life” thanks to a fire safety session she attended as a schoolgirl, a fire service boss has said.
Prevention manager Rabinder Dhami said the pair were able to survive when their Telford home caught fire because the mother had attended a “Crucial Crew” safety skills event years before.
Mr Dhami said the incident showed Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s preventative work was having an effect.
He was updating the county’s fire authority on the brigade’s service targets, which include reducing accidental fires, arson incidents and fire-related deaths and injuries by 25 per cent compared to five years ago.
A report co-written by Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton and his deputy Andy Johnson said they were “very likely” to achieve these standards.
“Concentrated effort in ongoing fire prevention work, especially in more populated areas of Shropshire, are producing positive results,” they wrote.
In his presentation to the Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority’s Standards, Audit and Performance Committee, Mr Dhami said: “Last year was a good example, when we had a house fire in Telford and the mother and daughter got out because the mother had attended Crucial Crew.
“We think of it as something that’s for young people. We initially thought, when she mentioned Crucial Crew, that she was going to talk about the daughter, but she said ‘No, it was me!’.
“She had remembered the fire safety messages from that session, things like ‘Don’t go back for belongings’ and ‘Get your family out’, and it did save her life, probably.
“That is quite heart-warming.”
Crucial Crew workshops are aimed at primary school children and are designed to teach them about personal safety. The fire service is one of many organisations, including local authorities and the police, which support the initiative and provide expertise.
As well as fire, they cover topics including drug awareness, safe internet use and road safety.
Mr Hammerton and Mr Johnson’s report said the service's 2019-20 targets include reducing accidental fires to 433 or fewer that year.
With 243 recorded between April and October, that is “very likely” to be achieved, they said.
With 106 accidental home fires and 267 deliberate fires, compared to target limits of 186 and 547 respectively, those are also graded “very likely” to be achieved. Mr Johnson praised the fire service's “fantastic performance”.
Out of the seven ongoing performance targets, the only one graded “unlikely” to be achieved was the aspiration that “the first engine will arrive at an emergency incident with at least four firefighters within 15 minutes on 89 per cent of occasions”.
The report said the “severe weather the county experienced on the weekend of October 26” and the resulting flooding led to the service receiving 20 times the number of calls it would on a typical weekend.
Mr Johnson also pointed out that, because preventative work was focussed around towns, this, on average, pushed accidental fires further out and away from whole-time fire stations, making the arrival time statistic a possible “victim of the success of prevention”.