A grant allowing people in remote rural areas to buy high quality smoke alarms is being proposed by Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív, who wants those living more than 30 minutes away from a fire station to qualify.
Dep Ó Cuív, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs, has called on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government to establish the grant.
He said having a smoke alarm is vital for people in remote areas as response times from the fire service “can be much longer than in the larger towns and cities”, a fact which leaves rural residents at a serious disadvantage.
“Out of a population of 4.5 million people, around 80,000 people live in areas with a response time of 30 minutes or more,” the Carnmore based TD said. “This equates to around 30,000 homes which would qualify for a modest grant to install a high quality smoke detector. We need to take preventative action in these areas to ensure that the risk of fire and particularly of death or injury to a fire is minimised.”
He added that in areas where the fire service response time was more than 30 minutes, there is “an increased threat of serious damage being caused to people and premises”. While he acknowledged that “we cannot have a fire engine at every crossroads”, there was a need to ensure “an alternative approach to this matter”.