Call for fire vigilance

House fire. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

House fire. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have called for vigilance among neighbours of elderly people, following a spate of five deaths.

The five fatalities all involved people over the age of 70. The cause of three of the fires was smoking-related and three of the five individuals lived alone.

Area Manager for Fire Safety Ian Bitcon said: “These deaths have been tragic and our condolences are extended to the loved ones and friends of the individuals who have lost their lives. I’m sure communities across West Yorkshire have been left shocked and sadden by them and we wish to raise awareness of how we can all protect older people.

“Unfortunately being elderly brings with it particular risks which mean you are much more likely to die from a fire in the home.

“We want families, friends, neighbours and anyone who interacts with older people, such as social groups, care workers and health workers, to be aware of the dangers and to alert the fire service so we can carry out a home visit to give tailored advice.

“If you are looking after an elderly person, keep an eye on accumulating clutter in the home as this can be a fire risk. Be aware that older furniture may not conform to standards and in many cases is not fire retardant.”

The Fire Service are offering advice to those who live near older people:

  • Drop in on neighbours and family members
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the risks – they are not always obvious
  • Don’t turn a blind eye
  • Carers, health and social workers – be vigilant to the risks in the home and signpost to the fire service
  • Fit a smoke alarm and test it regularly
  • Establish an escape plan – taking into consideration mobility issue

For more fire safety information visit our website www.westyorksfire.gov.uk or follow us on Twitter @West_Yorks_FRS or our official Facebook page www.facebook.com/westyorkshirefire

Anyone can contact the fire service to arrange a FREE Home Fire Safety Check: just call 0800 5874536 or call into your local fire station.

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