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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Fire Safety Talks After Fatal House Fire

Four days after a 79-year-old woman died in a house fire in Wolstanton, Newcastle firefighters will present a talk on home fire safety at the annual general meeting of the town's 50 Plus Forum.

Following the tragedy in Sparch Avenue, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is determined to take the opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety in the home, the necessity of its FREE Home Fire Risk Checks and the life saving capabilities of smoke alarms.

"We don't ever want a repeat of what happened in Sparch Avenue."

Rebecca Bryant, Newcastle Area Commander

There were no working smoke alarms fitted at the property where the woman died on Tuesday. The incident was the second fatal house fire in less than a month involving an elderly person.

Rebecca Bryant, Area Commander for Newcastle, said: "Tuesday's tragic events have put in sharp focus just how crucial home fire safety is and how we all share the responsibility for making sure elderly and vulnerable people are kept safe and secure.

"Saturday's AGM is an opportunity for us to educate people to the danger they may face in their home and how we, as a Service, can help them. We don’t ever want a repeat of what happened in Sparch Avenue."

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Dartford, added: "We are urging the elderly and all those people who have elderly relatives and neighbours to contact us so we can arrange a arrange a FREE Home Fire Risk Check on their home.

"Elderly people are more vulnerable to fire because they are often less mobile and therefore find it difficult to get out of their property quickly. Our ongoing campaign, 'Young at Heart, Safe at Home,' aims to raise awareness of fire safety among the elderly and those who care for them."

Referring to this week's fatal fire in Wolstanton, Peter added: "If we don’t know about people then we can’t help them."

The Service launched Young at Heart, Safe at Home in October last year. The campaign is driven by statistics which reveal 82 per cent of the 17 fire deaths suffered in Staffordshire since 2008 have involved people aged 65 and over.

Margaret Coley, Secretary for the Newcastle-under-Lyme 50 Plus Forum, said Tuesday's incident makes this weekend's meeting all the more important.

"The safety of all people, particularly the elderly, is paramount," she said.

"There are many more older people living on their own now compared to just a few years ago. And with no-one else in the home to raise the alarm if a fire happens, they are totally vulnerable.

"So having a smoke alarm fitted to raise the alarm for them can save lives."

Mrs Coley added Newcastle-under-Lyme 50-Plus Forum has a close working relationship with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"In each edition of our quarterly newsletter, Your Voice, we have updates from the Service encouraging people to book Home Fire Risk Checks," she said.

"We would urge all members, indeed everyone around Newcastle, to contact the Service to make sure their home is safe."

The FREEPHONE number to ring to request a FREE Home Fire Risk Check is 0800 0241 999. Callers can arrange a mutually convenient time for the visit to take place. All firefighters and Service Technicians carry an I.D card and travel in Service vehicles. Although checks to the elderly and vulnerable are prioritised, the service is open to everyone .