Over 10,000 fire retardant bedding packs, night dresses, sofa throws , ashtrays and other fire prevention kits are being funded by London Fire Brigade to the capital's most vulnerable residents.
Brigade figures show that last year, two thirds of those who died in accidental fires lived alone and over a third had mental health issues. One in three accidental fatal fires were caused by smoking.
To combat this, the Brigade has targeted those most at risk from fire in London with bespoke fire prevention solutions ranging from simple smoke alarms to personalised sprinkler systems.
Just over £2million in fire prevention grants have been awarded from the Brigade's Community Safety Investment Fund, which was set up to help protect individuals and communities across London that most need it.
Bromley resident, Clive Knowles, is one of the recipients of fire retardant bedding which has been provided by the Community Safety Investment Fund. Mr Knowles said: "The Brigade came to visit me at home and gave me some helpful reminders about looking after myself and the fire risks when smoking at home.
"I know I shouldn't smoke and fall asleep but in case it does happen, having some fire retardant bedding gives me some peace of mind."
London Fire Brigade Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: "In the first six weeks of this year, five of the seven fatal fires in London had no working smoke alarms fitted in their homes which just shows how important simple fire prevention measures are.
"Our crews know their local community well and they know who is most at risk. This fund allowed Borough Commanders to apply for bespoke fire prevention projects to help those who would have difficulty escaping a fire because they may have trouble walking or perhaps they have a history of falling asleep while smoking after drinking.
"Modern firefighting is about more than responding to fires, we want to stop them from happening in the first place."
Just a few of the grants that have been approved include:
- £193,000 for three sprinkler systems to be installed in housing blocks and 150 sets of bedding in Southwark
- £30,000 for water misting systems. smoke detectors and 180 sets of fire retardant bedding, nightwear and sofa throws in Camden. Sprinkler systems work in a similar way to traditional sprinkler systems but spray a fine water mist and are placed where people are most likely to fall asleep like above a bed or a settee
- £28,000 for 400 arson proof letterboxes, 100 sets of fire retardant bedding and 50 sets of pyjamas in Bexley
- £10,000 for telecare smoke alarms with provision for upgraded services to existing systems (to include inter-linked fire detection; smoke, fire and carbon dioxide detection) in Waltham Forest. Telecare smoke alarms sound automatically when smoke is detected but simultaneously send an alarm to a monitoring centre to notify a call centre operator.
- £9,700 for 45 sets of bedding, 75 sofa throws, 75 sets of nightwear, 100 carpet sprays and 130 ashtrays in Hackney. Key statistics on those who are most vulnerable and at risk of being in a fire (as documented in Our Performance 2015/16http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/Documents/our-performance-2015-16.pdf):
- Half of people who died from fire were over 70 years old.
- Two thirds of those who died lived alone, over a third had mental health issues and over a third were in receipt of care.
- There was a delay of 10 minutes or more from the time of the fire starting to the Brigade being called in 45 per cent of fatal fires.
- Over a third of fatal fires are caused by smoking (according to figures from the last five years 2011-2016).