Cllr Les Byrom And Cllr Peter Dowd at the opening of the Safe Haven initiative
Safe Havens have been introduced to all community fire stations in Sefton to help protect people when they are at their most vulnerable.
Community fire stations across Sefton have been designated as Safe Havens for members of the public who feel threatened, intimidated or at risk.
The signs were launched at an unveiling at Bootle and Netherton Community Fire Station and have also been installed at Crosby, Formby and Southport community fire stations.
The signs have been funded through the Safer Sefton Community Partnership, which is made up of partners including Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS), Merseyside Police and Sefton Council.
Safe Havens are easily identified by an illuminated sign on the stations that can be seen at night. If firefighters are not at the station, people can still call for assistance for an emergency situation by using the yellow emergency phone box located at the front of the buildings, positioned below the Safe Haven signs.
They will also provide people with the opportunity to report hate crime or domestic violence should they feel that this action is appropriate.
MF&RS Deputy Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “The Safe Havens have proven to be successful at our community fire stations in other parts of Merseyside and thanks to support from partners they are now running across Sefton available to help people in their times of need.
“We want people to know fire stations are there as a place of safety, where they can go if they are feeling vulnerable, at risk or are feeling under threat from harm.
“As welcoming and friendly places in the heart of the community, fire stations are ideal locations for the Safe Havens. Firefighters are also experienced in helping people in traumatic times and the initiative will help us to serve the public when they need us most.”
The launch was attended by Jane Kennedy, Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside and local councillors, including Cllr Peter Dowd, the PCC for Bootle and Cllr Les Byrom Vice Chair of the Fire Authority and Victoria Ward Councillor.
Ms Kennedy said: “Safe Havens offer people somewhere safe to go if they feel threatened or in danger. They have worked extremely well in other areas of Merseyside and I am delighted that they will now be used in Sefton too.”
Councillor Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member Communities and Environment, said: “The launch of the Safe Havens is another means of making our communities feel even safer.
“Anyone who feels threatened in any way can use them and this is another example of many different partners working together utilising the many facilities available in the borough.”
Safe Havens have already been rolled out at community fire stations across Liverpool, Knowsley and Wirral.
MF&RS Group Manager Rob Pritchard, Sefton District Manager, added: “Any members of the public who are feeling threatened can approach a community fire station and ask for help knowing they are in a place of safety.
“The Safe Haven signs will be illuminated of a night to let people know the station is available as a place of sanctuary. In the event that firefighters are not on station, people can still call for assistance in an emergency by using the yellow emergency phone box located at the front of the stations below the Safe Haven signs.”
Cllr Les Byrom said ” In the past, fire stations had a mythical fence around them as if to keep the public out, we have changed all that and now fire stations are used for so many community activities, they must be open to the public and used for positive local service provision, the safe haven initiative is another welcome extension of the fire services activity in the community ”
Councillor Leslie T. Byrom CBE MStJ FRICS
Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council – Member for Victoria Ward Crosby;
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service – Vice Chairman of the Authority