Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service have launched a winter safety campaign, aimed at helping the elderly or most vulnerable and isolated across our district.
Research has found that fuel poverty and accidents involving the elderly or isolated were amongst the most common cause of accidental house fires in Lancashire during the winter months.
After looking at ways to try and tackle this, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) will once again be sending out information cards with built-in thermometers and encouraging people to book a free home fire safety check, whereby operational crews or Community Safety Advisors will share advice on how to keep safe, warm and well in the home, install a smoke alarm if needed and signpost onto other agencies and partners.
Another part of the winter safety campaign is an initiative called ‘Nosey Neighbour' where people from pur district are being asked to look out for those living alone, the elderly or vulnerable on their street and be ‘nosey’ enough to check they are okay, their house is warm enough and safe and they know they have someone to speak to if they need help.
Group Manager Kirsty McCreesh, the Prevention lead for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said:
“Fuel poverty can affect anyone. There is sometimes a belief that it only affects those on low incomes, but in reality that’s just not the case.
Our concern is that some people may turn to alternative methods of staying warm and these may compromise their safety. This may be by using portable heaters in different ways, candles, open fires without the correct maintenance or cookers and this can be risky both from a health and wellbeing point of view and fire safety one. We see incidents every year like this and we want to prevent them happening.”
LFR work closely with partners such as Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society as well as local councils to ensure they are all working towards the same goal of keeping people safe. The information cards with built-in thermometers show residents what their home temperature is along with guidance for what temperature their home should be and how to go about making some changes especially if they are a victim of fuel poverty. During Home Fire Safety visits, LFRS staff may give out "safe and warm packs" which consist of a blanket, a thermos mug, a torch and Age UK literature. Fire service personnel may also offer advice on electric blankets and how to use an electric heater safely.
Kirsty continued by saying:
"We want people to know that they don’t have to batten down the hatches and live with the cold, we can help by offering fire safety guidance and putting them in touch with the right people to get them the support they need.”
What to look our for when checking on your neighbours:
Sitting too close to fires or portable heaters
Drying clothes too close to electric fires
Suggest they use a fire guard and install a carbon monoxide alarm
Chimneys have been cleaned and swept recently
Using folded up electric blankets rather than rolled up (which protects the wiring)
Overloaded plug sockets
Using ovens to keep warm
Taking medication and drinking alcohol
If you know someone who might need a little help this winter, why not pay them a visit. For advice, please visit the website: www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk or to discuss a home fire safety visit feel free to contact them on free phone: 0800 169 1125.