This week is the National Fire Chiefs Council’s (NFCC) Home Safety Week.

Fire and Rescue Services will be working with their local communities to help people be safe from fire incidents in their homes.

The NFCC is committed to helping older people to remain independent and safe in their homes and are urging people to take time this week, to think about fire safety and consider if their needs have changed.

How might the fire service help you?

The help offered by fire and rescue services differs across the regions. Older people, people with physical or mental health conditions may be able to request a Home Safety Visit which provides advice of reducing fire risk and what to do in the event of a fire.

In some areas people may be able to have a Safe and Well Visit which is tailored to the individuals needs relating to their health and lifestyle choices.  Both visits can include can include the installation of alarms or other equipment depending on what your fire service can offer.

These visits are part of the prevention work fire and rescue services undertake to keep their communities safe. If you think you or someone you know would benefit from a visit please contact your fire service.

People have nothing to lose by asking for this advice and because statistically the risk dying in a fire for those aged 65 and over is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages we want people to get in touch.

NFCC recommend:

Install working smoke alarms – at least one on each level

Consider fitting additional smoke alarms in the most used rooms of the household, particularly where persons are bedridden or otherwise vulnerable from fire due to ill health or disability.
In some cases a different type of alarm might be best, such as strobe light alarms or alarms linked to a Telecare system. Your fire service will be able to advise on what is available.

Fit a heat alarm in your kitchen

Half of fires in the home start in the kitchen, usually as people leave cooking unattended or forget they were cooking. Smoke alarms cannot be installed in a kitchen as they would go off constantly due to steam and cooking fumes, but a heat alarm will not activate unless there is a fire.

Take care with electric blankets

They should be stored carefully – rolled not folded and checked for wear and tear. Many fire services carry out electric blanket testing events ahead of winter.

Be aware of the dangers of smoking

Careless disposal of matches and cigarettes, particularly when in bed or sitting in armchairs, is a common cause of house fires. This can be extremely dangerous where individuals have mobility problems that impair their ability to escape should bedding or clothing catch fire.