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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Hazard-ridden scene sparks a rise in HFRCs

08/01/2015

The hazard-ridden scene
The hazard-ridden scene

An eye-catching scene depicting potential dangers that can be found in the home has attracted more than 90 Home Fire Risk Check (HFRC) referrals from older residents.

"The scene worked really well in attracting the attention of shoppers and we were able to speak to lots of people about fire safety in the home as well as taking 103 HFRC referrals in total with 91 of those being from people aged over 65. It is quite a shocking scene but the sad fact is that it is reality for some of the most vulnerable members of our community." 

Community Safety Officer Tom Osborne

The hazard-ridden display was set up in a vacant Tamworth shop which was loaned to the Service by Tamworth Borough Council free of charge.

It demonstrated a range of issues that have been found in the living rooms of some of the most at risk residents in the town.

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 Officers were on hand in the Church Street shop for six mornings during November and December to talk to people about the possible risks and to encourage them to book a free HFRC.

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.

Community Safety Officer Tom Osborne said: “The scene worked really well in attracting the attention of shoppers and we were able to speak to lots of people about fire safety in the home as well as taking 103 HFRC referrals in total with 91 of those being from people aged over 65. It is quite a shocking scene but the sad fact is that it is 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.

“We would always urge residents to spare a bit of time to visit an older friend, family member or neighbour who may be vulnerable. This is particularly relevant during January when the excitement and visits of Christmas have come and gone and people can become isolated and lonely. 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. If you are concerned about someone’s safety in their home, book a free Home Fire Risk Check as soon as possible - it could save their life.”

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