LFBNew research by the London Fire Brigade has revealed that vulnerable people are 18 times less likely to have a fire if they receive a home fire safety visit.

The study, the first of its kind in London, looked at the 400,000 visits attended over the last six years and estimated that their impact had prevented around 5,000 fires from starting in people’s homes.

The rate of accidental house fires reduced in vulnerable people from 36 per 10,000 people who had not received a visit to only 2 per 10,000 people who had according to the study.

Saving thousands of lives
The report supports the Brigade’s targeted approach of using lifestyle profiling, alongside local knowledge and fire data to reach vulnerable people.

Chair of London Fire Authority’s Strategy Committee, Councillor Sarah Hayward said: “This new research is evidence that the Brigade’s home fire safety visits is preventing thousands of fires and saving lives, particularly amongst some of the capital’s most vulnerable people.

“Joining forces with local councils and other partners has enabled the Brigade to reach those most at risk. Home fires are devastating so it’s vital that this important work continues.

“Londoners need to look out for friends and neighbours by following some simple fire safety advice. If you know someone who you think could be at risk of having a fire at home, please speak to them about arranging a free home fire safety visit – you may well save their life.” 

Fire risk profiles
During a free home fire safety visit firefighters offer potentially life saving information on how to prevent fires, and fit free smoke alarms where needed. The majority of fires in the home are caused by cooking, cigarettes and candles, so safety advice focuses on those issues, as well information on how to escape should a fire break out.

LFB chiefs have identified that around 700,000 homes in London are more at risk from having a fire and specifically target their visits at them. It released a ‘fire risk profile’ and said that those identified are usually affected by several of these ‘risk factors’ below:
* Disability, especially impaired mobility
* Visual and / or hearing impairments
* Mental health problems
* Intoxication by drugs and / or alcohol
* Smoking
* Old age
* Living alone

The London Fire Brigade recently increased its target for he number of visits to 219,000 homes by March 2016, with 80 per cent of those visits being to the homes of vulnerable people. Prevention work across the Brigade has seen the number of fires it attends reduced by half in the last ten years.