Media Release: Unemployed trainees sign up to promote fire safety in Edinburgh’s high rises

A GROUP of unemployed trainees are helping in the drive to promote fire safety within Edinburgh’s high rise tower blocks.

In an exciting partnership scheme between the City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, trainee concierge staff will work with community firefighters to offer fire safety advice to residents in some of Edinburgh’s tallest housing blocks.

Over the next year, trainee concierges will be primarily acting as the eyes and ears of the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service and will generate appointments for firefighters to visit tenants and carry out a free home safety visit.

Around 15 trainees will be taken off unemployment benefit and will help residents spot potential fire hazards, book fire risk assessments and fit free smoke alarms with fire crews – to stop tragedies before they happen.

The scheme comes on the back of the deadly fires in Southampton, London and Glasgow which were widely reported in the national news.

Traditionally, the high rises in Edinburgh were built to contain fires so are generally thought to be safer than some tower blocks elsewhere in the UK, but accidents still happen and the aim of the project is to reduce the risk of fires and make sure residents know how to react should the worst happen.

Councillor Norman Work, vice-convener of the Housing and Social Care committee, said: “This is a great partnership scheme, as not only will it provide local unemployed people with training and a job for six months but it will also build their confidence and work skills.

“The project will also be a huge benefit to the residents of these high rise homes in Edinburgh in that they will be given first class fire safety advice from professionals within the Fire Service. Avoiding tragic fires is essential and this scheme will prove its worth in the months and years to come.”

Community firefighter John Dickey, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is a fantastic way of ensuring that we spread the word about the availability of free homes safety visits and smoke alarms to residents. We want to do everything we can to make people safer from the risk of fire in their homes.

“The trainee concierges will be in a position to build relationships with those living in high rises and talk to them about how to reduce the risk. We will be involved in training staff in basic fire safety particularly how they can contribute to tenant and firefighter safety.

“We also hope they can encourage people to book a home safety visit with firefighters. A working smoke alarm is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your home from fire by giving you an early warning and time to respond.”

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