People over the age of 65 are more likely to die in a fire and yet there are some simple things we can do to reduce this
I recently attended an “Adults at Risk” training session at Newbury Fire Station. It was extremely valuable and I have certainly changed some of my ways at home. For example, switching off any electrical sockets, that do not need to be on, during the night and when I am work. Charging my mobile phone when I’m getting ready for work, rather than leaving it plugged in all night. Closing internal doors when I go to bed (a closed door will contain a fire for 20 minutes or more)
Protecting those over 65
While statistics show that people under the age of 65 are more likely to have a fire in their home, people over the age of 65 are more likely to die in a fire and this is where we can help some of the people that we care for.
The Fire Prevention team will carry out free home assessments for people in the following categories:
- Over the age of 65
- Restricted mobility
- Impaired sight or hearing
- Drugs or alcohol dependency
- Mental health issues
- Learning disabilities
Devices that help prevent and alert us if there is a fire
They have some amazing devices and products, which may just save someone’s life in the event of a fire breaking out.
Strobe lighting to alert someone who has impaired hearing.
A vibrating pad, which can be placed under a cushion or pillow. This will vibrate with some force and again is valuable for someone who is hard of hearing.
Portable misting systems (these items are loaned) in the event of a fire it will help to damp it down until the fire brigade get there.
Stove guards is a very small metal box, which can be placed above an electric cooker. It is able to read temperatures, detect whether a pan has been stirred recently, whether a pan has been left to boil dry and of course detect whether a fire has broken out. This is particularly valuable for people who have dementia and may be prone to forgetting that they are cooking.
There is even a device, which is provided free from Southern Gas, which enables a carer or family member to switch off the gas supply to the cooker when they have finished preparing a meal.
There are also flame retardant items, such as bedding, nightdresses, pyjamas, throws, all of which would prove invaluable to people who smoke.
Most, if not all of these items are provided free of charge.
Carrying out an assessment
When the fire prevention team visit, to carry out an assessment, they will provide advice and support and will be looking at things like smoke alarms, electrical sockets, extension leads and the type of appliances that are usually plugged into them.
Any electrical appliance that heats up, for example an iron, a toaster, a hairdryer require a 13 amp plug, so only one of these appliances should be plugged into an extension lead at a time, otherwise there may be an electrical overload to the extension unit, which could cause a fire. On the other hand, any appliance that provides light or sound uses a 3 amp plug, so more than one of these can be plugged into the same extension unit.