A MOTHER and toddler are safer in their home thanks to the keen
eye of a Tameside fire officer working in a specialist role that
brings the work of GMFRS and Tameside Council closer together.
The success is another example of how GMFRS is working with
other organisations to protect and improve the lives of people in
the county and using public money in smarter ways to improve the
Watch Manager Steve Egerton's years of experience meant he
spotted the dangers to the mother and child immediately when he
took a wrong turn while on his way to another job.
Steve said: "I took a wrong turn and straight away it looked
dangerous. There was a big pile of rubbish in the open under the
child's bedroom and a derelict workshop next door, which makes it
an arson risk.
"On looking closer, the timbers of the floor in the child's
bedroom were exposed to an open garage and, underneath, rubbish was
"I asked a crew to come out and do a Home Safety Check for the
family and they fitted three smoke alarms, and I also went to
Building Control and housing to get their support for the
"The risk has been vastly reduced because she's got smoke
detectors in the house and the problems outside have been sorted
Steve works from Tameside Council's Building Control as a
liaison officer to spot problems and, in particular, buildings that
pose a risk of fire and works with the council, landowners and
landlords to improve the problems.
As a result of him spotting this issue, Tameside Council's
enforcement team secured the derelict workshop by putting some
fencing around it and the piles of rubbish from under the toddler's
bedroom have been removed.
Watch Manager Martin Cain's team, Ashton White Watch, also
visited other homes in the street and nearby and, as a result,
carried out Home Safety Checks for people who either needed advice
or did not have working smoke alarms.
GMFRS's Tameside Borough Manager Jon Heydon said: "Empty
buildings and how they're managed might not seem to be the most
obvious area for the fire service to be involved with but it makes
"Security measures degrade, leaving them open to vandalism and
they become very much a fire risk - in this case, making a young
mother and her child vulnerable.
"In the event of a fire, firefighters from my team would have to
go into a very dangerous situation to tackle any blaze so we want
to minimise any risk from fire as far as possible.
"Through having someone based at the council, our firefighters
are directly linked to people who can work together to prevent
problems developing or becoming worse than they already are."
For a free Home Safety Check, which may include the fitting of
smoke alarms, please contact GMFRS on 0800 555 815 or visit