Two new rural safety initiatives have been launched this week which are meant to make people living in isolated areas feel safer in their homes.
The Department for Rural and Community Development has launched rural safety schemes that take aim at carbon monoxide poisoning and a mobile app for the Community Alert system.
Galway East TD and Minister with responsibility for community development Seán Canney said that these initiatives will help “isolated, vulnerable and older people in rural Ireland safer in their homes.”
Carbon monoxide alarms will be installed in 2,000 rural homes with €115,000 funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund.
Alarms will be supplied to Muintir na Tíre groups who will install them in people’s homes on a voluntary basis.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning claims an average of six lives a year according to the Department for Rural and Community Development. What have been described as “largely preventable” deaths.
Building regulations require new homes come with CO alarms, but there is no requirement for older homes to be retrofitted with them.
“It is vital that people who otherwise might not be able to afford them have these alarms,” Seán Canney said.
This week also saw the launch of Muintír na Tire’s new Cairde home security mobile app.
The app has multiple functions to make people feel more secure in their homes, including integrating into the Community Alert system so people can receive garda texts.
It also features community messaging to allow communities to keep in contact and a panic button to allow people to raise the alarm with designated neighbours, relatives and friends.
Deputy Canney said further updates for the app are in the works which will include doorbell cameras and the use of smart plugs to allow unobtrusive monitoring of patterns.
“For example if someone has not put the kettle on as usual by a certain time of the day,” Deputy Canney explained.
Muintir na Tíre is a national organisation for community development. It supports 200 Community Councils and 1,400 Community Alert groups nationwide, through a network of Development Officers and Head Office support.