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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

'Christmas Cuppa' campaign is launched

08/12/2014

Christmas cuppa

A campaign has been launched this week to encourage residents to help keep older people safe by sharing a ‘Christmas Cuppa’ with someone they know.

“We are urging people to spare a few minutes of their time to visit an older or vulnerable person, whether they are a family member, friend or neighbour, and test their smoke alarms to see if they are working. It is not an exaggeration to say this simple act could potentially save someone’s life.”

Head of Risk Reduction Jim Bywater

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is calling for people to pledge to visit an older friend, relative or neighbour and check that they are safe in their home.

A Facebook page has been set up so that people can publically make the commitment by searching ‘Staffs Fire Pledge’ and posting a message.

People can also be in with the chance of winning afternoon tea at The Swan, Stafford if they share a ‘selfie’ on the pledge page of them enjoying a ‘Christmas Cuppa’ with an older person using the hashtag #XmasCuppa.

Those over the age of 80 are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than those aged 30 which is why prevention work is vital.

In the time it takes to boil the kettle, smoke alarms can be tested, simple safety checks made and questions about wellbeing asked.

Head of Risk Reduction Jim Bywater said: “It is a sad and shocking situation that the majority of people who lose their lives in accidental house fires are over 65, and with almost a quarter of the UK’s population predicted to be aged 65 and over by 2035, we urgently need to address this problem.

“We are urging people to spare a few minutes of their time to visit an older or vulnerable person, whether they are a family member, friend or neighbour, and test their smoke alarms to see if they are working. It is not an exaggeration to say this simple act could potentially save someone’s life.”

Residents worried about fire safety in the home of someone they know are also being encouraged to contact the Service and book them in for a free Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC). They can be at the property to assist the older person while the HFRC is being carried out.

During a HFRC, firefighters or trained technicians visit every room in a resident’s home and look for potential fire hazards. They also speak to people about their everyday behaviour in the home and, using this information, try to identify anything that may increase the risk of a fire.

Escape routes are discussed and planned out so that people know what to do should a fire break out and free smoke alarms can be fitted if necessary. All members of staff carry an identity card. Although checks to the elderly and vulnerable are prioritised, the service is open to everyone.

Mr Bywater added: “There have been a number of recent cases in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent where smoke alarms have saved people’s lives. With our ageing population, there are an increasing number of people with physical disabilities or conditions, such as dementia, which can put them at a greater risk. If you know someone who could benefit from a HFRC, contact us and book one in as soon as possible.”

To book a HFRC for yourself, or someone you know call the freephone number on 0800 0241 999 and a mutually convenient time will be set for the visit to take place.

Residents can also sign up to receive a weekly email to remind them to test their smoke detectors. Simply input your email address into the following webpage - http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/pushthebutton.asp - and you will automatically be sent a message.