FIREFIGHTERS are celebrating the success of their prevention strategy.

In 2000 Greater Manchester County Fire Service recorded its lowest ever number of fire related deaths since the county service started 25 years ago.

Last year 17 people died in fires, compared to 30 in 1995 and 48 in 1990.

County Fire Officer George Almond said: "Although the reduction in fire deaths is extremely encouraging the brigade is fully committed to achieving zero fire deaths.

"The reduction is a direct reflection of the brigade's commitment to community fire safety education based on a strategy of 'Prevention rather than Cure'.

"It is also pleasing to note fire related injuries have also reduced by 15pc over the last year."

The Greater Manchester brigade was one of the first in the country to produce a Community Fire Safety Plan, copies of which are available by writing to Fire Service HQ, 146 Bolton Road, Swinton, Manchester, M27 8US.