Smoke alarms are being fitted at traveller homes in a bid to drive down the number of fire incidents.

The Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) has carried out 44 site visits over the past two years.

During this time, ECTU has fitted 52 domestic smoke alarms.

Officers assess water supplies, access, safety and separation of caravans during the visits As of January, one quarter of a total 175 site visits across the county had been carried out.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) has set aside £28,000 in its budget for 2014/15 for supporting ECTU, which is a project run by 22 groups and members of gypsy and traveller communities.

Partner organisations include councils, Essex Police, ECFRS and primary care trusts in the county.

As members of the partnership, ECTU meetings and training sessions are held at the fire service’s Kelvedon Park headquarters.

ECTU was established in 2012 with the aim of improving travellers’ lives and saving taxpayers money.

Two of Essex County Council’s authorised permanent traveller sites are located within Braintree district, with sites at Cressing and Ridgewell each providing 12 plots.