A campaign to protect older people from fire is being launched in South Yorkshire, after shock new figures reveal more than half of the county’s recent fire deaths involved people over the age of 60.
Since 2009, 42 people died in accidental house fires in South Yorkshire. Of these, 22 (53%) were aged 60 or over.
Of the last ten fatalities, six involved residents aged 60 or over and two involved people in their 50s. Several of the victims were living alone and only half had a working smoke alarm installed.
The statistics are reflected nationally and demonstrate why South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is focussing its work to prevent fires on those who are most at risk. The fire service visits 20,000 homes each year to provide fire safety advice and smoke alarms and is working towards targeting these visits at those who are most at risk of fire including over 65s.
Steve Helps, head of prevention and protection, said: “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, help them by looking out for some common fire hazards, helping them test their smoke alarms and referring them to us if they need further support.”
The fire service says that taking just five minutes to carry out some simple checks the next time you see an older relative or friend could prevent a fire and help your loved one to stay in their own home safely, for longer.
As part of the campaign, a video is being released which explains some simple things people can do to help. They include:
- Test their smoke alarms- some older people may find it difficult to reach their alarms to test them regularly
- Check electrics are safe- look out for frayed wiring or overloaded sockets
- Make sure escape routes are clear