This Carers Week (6-12 June) Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is reaching out to local carers and reminding them that help is available to keep them, and the people they care for, safe from fire.
Fire safety is another worry on an ever-growing list for those with the extra responsibility of looking after an older relative, sick friend or a disabled family member.
This week Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) is reminding carers that they’re not alone.
HFRS Head of Prevention, Sarah Wilkinson explains:
“There is lots of help available for carers to make sure that they and their loved ones are protected – be it simple safety advice over the phone, helping them complete the free online home fire safety check or helping them find the specialist equipment they need. Referrals from partner agencies or carers can be made here.
“The simplest thing any carer can do to prevent fire in their home is to make a few easy additions to their normal routine. Testing your loved ones’ smoke alarms at least monthly and planning an escape route could help give them the vital extra seconds they need to get out in a fire. Simple steps such as closing doors at night and avoiding overloaded plug sockets will help reduce the risk in their home.
“A huge variety of specialist safety equipment is also available – vibrating smoke alarms for the hard of hearing, easy-reach smoke alarm testers for those with limited movement and linked alarm systems are just a few options to help you feel safer.”
If you take care of a loved one, HFRS’s advice could help make your – and their – jobs easier should the worst happen:
• Make sure the person you care for is registered with your local fire and rescue service if they have sight, hearing, mobility difficulties, or if they use oxygen. This will mean a fire crew is made aware of your circumstances in the event of an emergency.
• If you have a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000.
• Make sure that the person you care for knows what to do in the event of a fire.
• It’s a good idea to practice an escape so that you and your loved ones feel confident enough to do it by day or night.
Some simple everyday checks can help prevent a household fire:
• Working smoke alarms can give your loved ones the extra time they need to escape a fire in the home. Make testing their alarms part of your regular routine.
• Most fires in the home happen at night, so make sure smoke alarms are placed where they will wake up the person you care for; e.g. in the bedroom.
• If you can, close inside doors at night. This will help prevent a fire from spreading.
• If you use oxygen, make sure the equipment is stored safely out of direct sunlight, well ventilated, always dry and away from heat sources.
• Never have open flames, smoke or use electrical appliances such as hairdryers, whilst using oxygen.
Specialist equipment is available:
• If you live with the person you care for, consider fitting an intercom which will allow you to alert someone else in the house in an emergency.
• If you or the person you care for has difficulty hearing you can get specialist smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads.
• Alternatively consider linking the alarm system to your own – this can alert you to any danger.
• A coloured sticker on the smoke alarm can help people with trouble seeing it to test it.
• Placing a tactile indicator along your escape route can make it easier for those with sight difficulties to find the exit.
• Easy access smoke alarms are available for people who have trouble moving around. These can be tested from the wall rather than the ceiling.
The Disabled Living Foundation can provide more information on these products.
Colleagues at London Fire Brigade have created a Carer’s Guide to Home Fire Safety and are happy to share it with fire services across the UK. Please visit their website and open the Guide by clicking here to find out more.