Fire deaths prompt new fire safety campaign

A new fire safety campaign is being launched across the county today, Monday 1 April, following a series of recent fatal fires involving people over 60-years-old.

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As part of the effort, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is asking people to find the time to go and see their older relatives who, according to statistics, may be at a higher risk of fire.

The service has published a ‘grandparent check’ which people can use to assess whether or not the older people in their lives – be it family, friends or neighbours – would benefit from a home safety check from local firefighters.

These visits, which are totally free, involve fire and rescue staff visiting properties to offer safety advice and fit smoke alarms. They also allow officers to identify risks and put things in place to make residents safer in their homes.

A list of things that people can do themselves, to help safeguard their older friends and relatives, has also been published.

“The motivation behind this campaign is really simple – in the last six weeks we’ve had a number of fire deaths that have involved people over 60-years-old,” said Area Manager Steve Helps, head of the joint police and fire community safety department.

“On their own these incidents are really tragic and when put alongside figures from our recent history we can see, quite clearly, that as people get older their fire risk increases.

“This is due to a range of factors – be it living alone, having limited mobility or a hearing impairment or taking medication that causes drowsiness – that can make older people more likely to have a fire and less able to escape.

“Fortunately there are things that we can all do to help. We’ve published some advice on simple things that people can do themselves to help make their loved ones safer. Then, if people still feel like they would benefit from a home safety check, the form on our website only takes a matter of minutes to complete.

“We can only help the people we know about and therefore rely on family and friends to get in touch with us. We know everyone is really busy but a quick visit makes a huge difference.”

Advice for people checking up on their loved ones includes:

  • Make sure they have working smoke alarms
  • Do they smoke? Ensure they’ve got a proper ash tray
  • Get them a working phone that stays with them all the time
  • Speak to them about what to do in the event of a fire
  • Help them de-clutter, particularly their exit routes

Find The Time follows on from South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue’s ‘Fire Safe Together’ campaign that was launched by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in 2017. This initiative urged partner agencies to work together in order to identify people who may be at risk and is being re-launched alongside this latest campaign.

Statistics show that over half the people who have died in accidental house fires, across South Yorkshire, since 2013 were over 60-years-old.

More information is available at www.syfire.gov.uk/findthetime.