Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) is urging people to embrace the spirit of Christmas by checking on their elderly family and neighbours who live alone.
Recent figures show that 70 per cent of people who died in house fire in Essex over the last few years were older people who lived on their own. Eighty per cent of the people who died did not have working smoke alarms.
70% of people who tragically lost their lives in house fires lived alone
80% of these people did not have a working smoke alarm in their home
Claire Monk, Safe and Well Manager at ECFRS said:
"Sadly, the stats speak for themselves. People who live alone are more likely to be victims of fire. It’s important that those who live alone, or those who look out for someone who lives alone, take note of this message and act on it.
"There are some really simple actions you can do to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring and to get out safely should there be a fire. The easiest and most effective thing you can do is ensure you have working smoke alarms which are in the correct location in your home."
The fire service's campaign focusses on the importance of having working smoke alarms and having an escape plan. To support those living alone, ECFRS offer a free home safety visit to anyone living in Essex. The visits are carried out by trained officers and firefighters and involves fitting new smoke alarms (if required) and bespoke fire safety advice.
The statistics are reflected nationally and demonstrate why Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is focussing its work to protect those who are most at risk.
Claire adds: “We have known for many years that isolated, older people are significantly more likely to die in house fires. But we also know that some older people can be hard to reach by traditional methods of engaging them around fire safety.
“That’s why we are calling on relatives, friends and neighbours to help us by helping them test their smoke alarms and referring them to us for a home safety visit.”
“This Christmas let's come together as a community to support those we know are at higher risk in the event of a fire. We cannot ignore the alarming statistics surrounding fire-related fatalities amongst those living alone. But by checking in and ensuring our elderly neighbours and family members have working smoke alarms, we can collectively reduce the risk of fire tragedies. A small effort from each of us can make a significant impact on the safety of our most vulnerable community members. No matter how busy you are, find the time to help those you care about live safe from the risk of fire.”
How you can help:
Check in, save lives: A simple check-in on elderly family members and neighbours can make all the difference. While you are visiting offer to test their smoke alarm.
Refer for a home safety visit: you can refer anyone for a home safety visit via our website essex-fire.gov.uk/book
Spread the word: Share our message on social media, community bulletin boards and local newsletters