Firefighters highlighting Home Safety Visits to keep elderly safe

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Firefighters in West Sussex are supporting this year’s Home Fire Safety Week by reminding people about the help available to keep older people safe from fire.

It runs from Monday September 28, is being led by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), and has been timed to coincide with Older Persons’ Day on Thursday October 1.

Home fire safety checks home visit (photo by Paul Archer). SUS-150925-115510001

Home fire safety checks home visit (photo by Paul Archer). SUS-150925-115510001

Nationally the risk of dying in a fire for those aged over 65 is more than double the average risk for all ages.

Firefighters will be raising awareness of the service’s life-saving Home Safety Visits at events in Crawley, Worthing, Chichester, Hayawrds Heath, Burgess Hill, and Littlehampton in the next week.

Nicki Peddle, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s intervention and prevention manager, said:“A great deal of our campaigning and prevention activity involves working with our partners and the public to reach those older people most at risk of a fire so we can help them to stay safe and independent in their homes.

“In particular, the Home Safety Visits we carry out are a key factor in reducing the number of people losing their lives in house fires.

“Over the last 12 months, because of the referrals we’ve received, we’ve carried out almost 6,500 Home Safety Visits. Last year although sadly there were four fire fatalities in West Sussex, none of these were as a result of an accidental house fire. This is encouraging but we know there is much more work to be done. We still need the public and our partner’s help in reaching the people who most need our help.

“We’re asking people to support Home Fire Safety Week by recommending a Home Safety Visit to an older relative or friend. It’s a free service arranged at a convenient time to the occupier. We tailor the visits to address the specific needs of the individual and, where needed, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment. Priority is given to those over 65 or with a disability.”

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service particularly wants to reach those who:

• Are over 65 and live alone

• Have a physical disability or frailty affecting their ability to either summon help or escape in an emergency

• Use a Community Alarm or Emergency Monitoring service like Careline or Lifeline

• Have an acquired sensory impairment or difficulty hearing a standard smoke alarm

• Have a cognitive impairment affecting their ability to remember things or retain information, such as dementia

To request a Home Safety Visit call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is holding a number of events around the county to support Home Fire Safety Week:

• Monday September 28 to Friday October 1 - East Grinstead firefighters will be holding daily drop in advice sessions at the library on West Street between 9am and 11am

• Monday September 28 – Firefighters from Crawley will be at Queens Square in the town centre between 10am and 2pm

• Wednesday September 30 - Worthing firefighters will be at the Guildbourne Centre in Worthing between 10am and 1pm

• Thursday October 1 - A fire crew from Chichester will be at Tesco Superstore on Fishbourne Rd East in Chichester between 10am and 1pm

• Thursday October 1 - Haywards Heath firefighters will be at the Orchards Shopping Centre in Haywards Heath between 11am and 1pm

• Thursday October 1 - Burgess Hill firefighters will be the Age UK Cherry Tree Centre on Fairfield Road between 10.30am and 12.30pm

• Friday October 2 – A fire crew from Littlehampton will be at Age UK Tamarisk Centre on Beach Rd between 9am and 10.30am and then at the Wickbourne Centre on Clun Rd between 11am and 1pm.

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