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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Help make 2015 a happy New Year for older people

24/12/2014

Check your smoke alarm

Kind-hearted members of the community are being urged to make a New Year’s resolution to share a cuppa with an older friend, relative or neighbour.

"As part of our Older People’s campaign we are urging residents to make a New Year’s resolution to pay a visit to someone they know who may be struggling and in need of a bit of help. Simple things like checking that their smoke alarms are working, making sure that plug sockets are not overloaded and that there and no trip hazards could literally have life-saving consequences yet they take just a matter of minutes to do." 

Director of Response Rob Barber

The Service is calling on residents to check on people who they think could be potentially vulnerable. Shocking statistics show that people over the age of 80 are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than those aged 30.

Simple safety checks such as testing a smoke alarm, checking for hazards, such as piles of newspapers or clothes drying over electric heaters, can be carried out in the time it takes a kettle to boil. Questions can also be asked about general health and wellbeing.

A Facebook page has been set up so that people can publically make the commitment to visit an older person. Search ‘Staffs Fire Pledge’ to post a message or ‘like’ the page.

Director of Response Rob Barber said: “Older residents are particularly vulnerable during the winter months with many people becoming isolated in their own homes when the bad weather hits. This can have a negative effect on their general wellbeing and safety as well as leaving them feeling lonely and depressed.

“Shockingly 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 all need to take action to help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“As part of our Older People’s campaign we are urging residents to make a New Year’s resolution to pay a visit to someone they know who may be struggling and in need of a bit of help. Simple things like checking that their smoke alarms are working, making sure that plug sockets are not overloaded and that there and no trip hazards could literally have life-saving consequences yet they take just a matter of minutes to do.”

People are being encouraged to call 0800 0241 999 to book a free Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC) if they know some who is older or vulnerable and could benefit from a visit by the Service.

During a HFRC, firefighters or trained technicians check 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 available to everyone.

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.