Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched its latest campaign, Young at Heart, Safe at Home.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of fire safety amongst the elderly and those who care for them. The campaign is being driven by the fact that all five fire deaths in the County since the start of the year have involved elderly people. Statistics also show that since 2007 a massive 81% of fire deaths in Staffordshire have involved those over the age of 65.
To launch the campaign the Service held several coffee and cake mornings/afternoons in libraries and fire stations across the County. A Service wide event was also held at fire and rescue Headquarters - ex firefighters from the Service’s Retired Members Network were invited to have coffee and cake with the Chief Fire Officer. At the event the Chief appealed to the ex firefighters to spread the campaign message to their friends and families. Those that attended were also encouraged to jot down their ideas of the best ways to get the safety message out to the elderly people.
"It’s a really shocking fact that all of our fire deaths since the start of the year have involved elderly people".
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford
At the event the Chief outlined plans for the campaign which included firefighters visiting flu clinics, safety adverts being placed on prescription bags, firefighters going on mobile libraries and promotional screens in doctors’ surgeries.
The event was also attended by the Service’s first Older Persons Advocate, Sonja Oatley. Mrs Oatley previously sat on the Service’s Fire and Rescue Authority but she has now been employed to raise awareness of fire safety and generate home fire risk check referrals amongst the elderly in the South Staffordshire area.
The scheme is being piloted in South Staffordshire as the area has the highest number of older people per head of population in the County. If successful the scheme could be rolled out to other areas of the County.
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford said: It’s a really shocking fact that all of our fire deaths since the start of the year have involved elderly people and unfortunately this reflects the trend of recent years. It is also worrying that unless something is done, the number of deaths from fire could increase, as our population becomes older and consequently more vulnerable. We are determined not to allow that to happen, hence our commitment to engage with those who will undoubtedly benefit from our services
Chairman of the International Day of Older Persons as this day provided the perfect opportunity for us to get the safety message out there - not just to the elderly people, but also to the people who come into contact with them, whether they be relatives, carers or neighbours.