To mark Ageing Safely Week, activities have been taking place to help older people prevent fires and keep themselves safe at home.
Statistics show that the risk of dying in a fire for those aged 65 and over is more than twice as high as the average risk for all ages. There were 271 fire deaths in Great Britain in 2012/13, of which 168 (62%) deaths were of people aged 60 or above. In 2012/13 almost 100 more people aged over 60 died from burns and/or asphyxiation than those under 30. Smoker’s materials (e.g. cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco) were responsible for the largest share of deaths in dwelling fires, and caused 671 injuries.
Paul Evans, Rother Borough Commander, said:
“We have more than 12,000 older, retired residents in Rother – with Bexhill, Battle and Rye among the most popular areas for them to settle. Many are active and well able to look after themselves and we hope that our advice will help them stay that way. We also want to help those who are less able to make their homes safer from fire on their own, so if you know someone who may need extra support, please get in touch.”
A smoke alarm is the easiest way to alert people to the danger of fire, giving them time to escape. Residents are at least four times as likely to die in a fire at home if they haven’t got a working smoke alarm. A smoke detector linked to a monitoring centre such as Welbeing provides increased reassurance by raising an alert call at the centre while also activating a local audible alarm. The monitoring centre then contacts the resident to check how they are and also contact the emergency services on their behalf.
The Welbeing smoke detector works with a lifeline unit and pendant which costs £15.96 per month, the cost of a linked smoke alarm is an additional £1.09 a week. Firefighters and volunteers can also visit the homes of people who are at most risk of fires – and in special cases fit smoke alarms.
Bedtime safety check for extra security:
Turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they are designed to be left on.
Turn off the washing machine.
Turn heaters off and put up fireguards.
Put candles and cigarettes out properly.
Make sure exits are kept clear.
Close inside doors at night.
Check cooker is off.
Keep keys where everybody knows.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue has more information on smoke detectors at www.esfrs.org/communitySafety/ageingasafelyWeek.shtml