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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Home owners take up free checks following fatal fire

More than 50 householders in Stone have taken up Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s offer of free home safety checks, following a fatal fire in the town. 

“Older people and those who are vulnerable get priority but everyone who lives in Staffordshire is eligible. We urge people to talk to their relatives, friends and neighbours about our free home fire risk checks.”

Carmel Warren, Prevention Manager for the Western Service Delivery Group.

Peter Goffe, aged 86 and his 85-year-old wife Beryl died following a bedroom fire in their Lichfield Road home on September 24.   

Following the tragedy, firefighters from Stone and local prevent teams targeted 149 homes near to the scene offering to carry out home fire risk checks. The checks include providing safety advice, helping to plan an escape route and the installation of free smoke alarms. 

Carmel Warren, Prevention Manager for the Western Service Delivery Group, said: “Out of 149 households targeted, 50 residents have taken up our offer, which represents a 33 per cent uptake rate. The type of households in the area varies, however there is a high percentage of retired and elderly people some of whom have mobility or sensory difficulties.”

She added: “Of the homes where home fire risk checks have already been completed, firefighters and technicians have found a large number of very old smoke alarms and also block plug adaptors in many properties with elderly occupants. Three of the houses had no smoke alarms fitted.”  

She explained that block adaptors were not recommended as often people overloaded them above the safe wattage level which could cause them to overheat and ignite. Block adaptors are swapped free of charge for socket strip adaptors during home fire risk checks.   

The Service should have completed all the booked checks by mid-November, although it is hoped further residents will request a free check by phoning the 0800 team to arrange an appointment.  

“We are very pleased with the uptake and hope still more residents will take advantage of a free home fire risk check,” added Carmel. “However, it is sad that it takes a tragedy for people to think about their own safety. Our checks are entirely free of charge and carried out by fire service technicians or firefighters who carry identification. 

“Older people and those who are vulnerable get priority but everyone who lives in Staffordshire is eligible. We urge people to talk to their relatives, friends and neighbours about home fire risk checks especially now winter is fast approaching. Evidence shows there is an increase in the number of fires in the home during the winter months.”

For more details about home fire risk checks or to request a free home fire risk check call Freephone 0800 0241 999 or visit the website www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk