Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to visit an older or vulnerable friend, relative or neighbour and check that they are safe in their home over the Christmas and New Year holiday.
“It is saddening that the majority of people who lose their lives in accidental house fires are aged 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."
Station Manager Dez Stoddart
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.
According to Age UK over half a million older people spend Christmas alone. Extreme cold weather conditions potentially pose a health risk for isolated older people. Continuous cold temperatures can exacerbate existing health issues in the elderly and vulnerable.
In the time it takes to boil the kettle, smoke alarms can be tested, simple safety checks made and questions about wellbeing asked.
Station Manager Dez Stoddart said: “It is saddening that the majority of people who lose their lives in accidental house fires are aged 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).
To book a free Home Fire Risk Check contact: 0800 0241 999. For all other non-emergency enquiries contact: 08451 22 11 55 or log onto: www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk or www.direct.gov.uk/firekills. In an emergency dial 999.