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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Drop-in sessions extended after shocking scene's success

11/12/2014

community safety
A team member gives fire safety advice

A shocking scene which depicts potential hazards that have been found in the homes of vulnerable people in Tamworth will be manned for two extra sessions.

Community Safety Officers (CSOs) have been overwhelmed by the amount of attention that the display, in a vacant shop on Church Street, has attracted.

A total of 88 referrals for free Home Fire Risk Checks were taken during four initial drop-in sessions at the shop with 71 of those being from people aged over 65.

There will now be two additional events where people can visit the CSOs and seek advice about fire safety. They will be held at the shop from 9am-midday on Thursday, December 18 and Tuesday, December 23.

The shop, which has been lent to the Service free of charge by Tamworth Borough Council, shows a range of issues that have been found in the living rooms of some of the most at risk residents.

A whole host of hazards feature in the display including clutter, newspapers and discarded cigarettes all of which are easily ignited. There is also an electrical heater which could pose a trip risk or a fire hazard if it is put close to curtains or used to dry clothes on.

Community Safety Officer Tom Osborne said: "The scene is quite shocking and has attracted a lot of attention from shoppers, with many people identifying with it personally or seeing potential risks in the homes of people they know reflected in it.

"The HFRC take-up as a result of the display has been really positive and is the reason why we are holding two more drop-in sessions where people can visit us for fire safety advice and to book a HFRC. We would urge anyone who thinks they could benefit from a visit from the fire and rescue service, or who knows a vulnerable or older person who we could help, to come along and speak to us.

"The display links in with our ‘Christmas Cuppa’ campaign where we are urging residents to spare a bit of time to visit an older friend, family member or neighbour who may be vulnerable. In the time it takes to boil a kettle, you can test their smoke alarm to ensure that it is working and check sockets to see if they are overloaded, creating a potential hazard.

"The sad fact is that the display is a daily reality for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. 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 in this age range by 2035, we cannot afford to ignore the situation."

The display is still in place at the venue along with contact details of how people can refer themselves, or someone they know who would benefit from a HFRC.

During the HFRC visits, crew members or trained technicians check every room in a property for potential fire hazards and speak to residents about their everyday behaviour in the home. Using this information, they try to identify anything that may increase the risk of a fire. They can also fit new smoke alarms.

To book a HFRC by calling Freephone 0800 0241 999, texting 07528 983101 or visiting www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/bookyourhfrc.asp

To find out more about the ‘Christmas Cuppa’ campaign visit http://www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk/1327.asp