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With the festive season approaching, it is timely to remind people to look out for relatives or neighbours who might struggle to get out to shops for essentials or simply be alone and feeling vulnerable.

Every winter Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) promotes its ‘Check on your Neighbours’ campaign. The campaign asks residents to take ten minutes out of their day to check on an elderly or vulnerable neighbour or relative and carry out a few simple checks to help reduce risks of fire in their home, particularly in the winter when the risk of fire can increase.

Through insight work, HFRS has established the profile of people who were most at risk from having a fire in their home. Those most at risk tend to be elderly people who live alone, often smoke or on medication and with some type of physical or mental impairment.

Steve Duffield, Group Manager Public Safety, HFRS said:

“Winter can be a difficult time for elderly residents as the cold weather sets in and keeping warm becomes a priority. Fire risk in the home can increase due to people smoking indoors to stay out of the cold and using open fires and electric or gas heaters more frequently.

“There are quick checks people could carry out when visiting an elderly neighbour or relative that really could make a difference to someone’s safety this winter and I urge people to help those less mobile if possible.”

How you could help:

1. Offer to check that your neighbour’s smoke alarm is working – push the button and make sure the alarm sounds.

2. If your neighbour smokes, remind them to never smoke in bed or when tired, to always ensure cigarettes are fully extinguished in a proper ashtray.

3. Remind your neighbour never to leave cooking unattended and ensure the cooker is turned off before leaving the house or going to bed. Having a timer is a good reminder to turn the cooker off once finished cooking.

4. If they use a portable heater, remind your neighbour not to sit too close as fabric can catch fire. Advise them to not to leave heaters turned on overnight. If they use an open fire, ensure they use a fire guard.

Steve continued:

“Obviously, it is important to remind people to remain vigilant and only open the door to people you know and trust. It doesn’t need to take long, but just a quick regular visit can help to ensure our elderly neighbours and relatives are safe this winter.”

If you have concerns about a neighbour or relative and to find out if they are eligible for a free home safety visit, please call 0300 303 8242 or visit

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