New research suggests sleeping children may be at greater risk in house fires as they are unlikely to wake up to high-pitched bleeping fire alarm sounds. This questions the safety of children across Milton Keynes.
Given the number of young families in Milton Keynes and the long standing practice of promoting fire alarms in people’s homes, it would seem more important than ever that fire safety measures ensure children are as safe as possible if a fire breaks out.
Cllr Zoe Nolan, MK Council Cabinet member for Children and Families said “We have long promoted fire alarms in the home as a preventive measure. It now seems that more needs to be done; because the fire alarms are not as effective in households with young children. I have written to the chair of the Children’s Safeguarding Board in Milton Keynes to see what can be done to protect households with young children.”
Cllr Nolan is also deeply concerned that with changes to the local Fire Service, including the closure of Great Holm and Bletchley Fire Stations; increased call out times for the West and South of Milton Keynes will mean that households with children may be responded to less swiftly compared to before the local fire stations are closed.
Cllr Nolan added, “This looks like a "Double Whammy" to me. Firstly fire alarms are not as effective as we were led to believe by their manufacturers. Secondly pending Fire Station closures we will see increased response times. More children will be put at risk.”
She further added, “ I have written to Cllr Arian Busby, the Conservative chair of the Fire Authority that has pushed through the Fire Station closures to get assurances that children will not be put at greater risk and to ask what action he will take over the alarm problem in order to ensure a swift response and safer homes?”
Cllr Nolan concluded, “I would be happy to organise a Children's "Safety from Fire" roundtable discussion with the Fire service, the Safeguarding board and my Children’s services team. We take Children’s safety very seriously. I want partners to work together to improve safety further”
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Reports of the new research: