The Castlefield's Fire Watch Co-ordinators are a group of resident volunteers who have been successful in reducing the amount of fires and potential fires on the Castlefield estate and has assisted in providing community safety days.
The aim of the group is to prepare community representatives with basic skills necessary to understand and apply improvements in fire prevention on the estate and in the home.
The group was previously funded through Single Regeneration Budget (SRB).
The co-ordinators receive fire safety training, provided at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, at a cost. The co-ordinators work in partnership with the fire service, CDS and LHT housing associates in increasing residents' safety.
The group is a well-recognised and successful group in the area, which residents have continued to support and recognise as a great asset to the area. However, in order to continue the success of the group, funding is essential.
The key objectives of the groups are:
To communicate the need and understanding for basic fire safety awareness
Carry out basic fire safety surveys around the Castlefields estate
Undertake regular fire safety surveys around the Castlefields deck access dwellings
Anticipate potential risks
Discover strengths and weaknesses in the fire safety of the Castlefields estate
Identify priorities for action.
Communicate confidence in the communities' ability to minimise the potential for risk.
Fire watch volunteers will undertake regular patrols of the estate in order to reduce the potential for fires to occur.
History and background
A pilot project started on the worst block of flats on the estate. Local residents were encouraged to volunteer as fire co-ordinators, and received training from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. The pilot proved to be very successful with a significant reduction in fires, and resulting in extending the project across the remaining flats.
The fire watch scheme was promoted across the Castlefields estate through publicity material that led to recruitment of further volunteers and greater awareness of the need to reduce fires. We have also been actively involved in running community safety days to give advice and promote the scheme. In addition we have undertaken a number of "one stop" days where a door-to-door survey with the fire service to identify problems.
How the initiative involved other partners and the local community
The fire watch scheme has a steering group made up of community volunteers, Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, CDS and LHT housing associates and the Halton watch. Through the steering group looked at a wide range of issues concerning the group. The specific contributions made are:
Community Volunteers and Cheshire Volunteers - the volunteers have the best knowledge of issues on the estate. Living on the estate means they are in a position to highlight action and be able to deal with incidents quickly.
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service - run training programmes for local residents, provide funding for the running of this initiative. Act as and between the community and the fire service.
CDS and LHT Housing Associations -as the major property owners on the estate both have contributed to the running of the scheme and provided funding. Contributed to the production of information for the group. Set up systems to remove fire hazards such as rubbish.
Halton Watch - access to funding and advice through the steering group. All collaborators on board because they have a direct interest in supporting this type of work and a commitment to making Castlefields a better and safer place to live.
If you are interested, please contact
Runcorn Fire Station in Runcorn
Tel: 01928 572 811