Derbyshire fire service calls on people to check on the elderly this Christmas
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The plea comes following two fatal accidental house fires in early December where an 87-year-old man from Ilkeston and a 97-year-old man from Normanton died within 24 hours of each other, both times in fires caused by faulty electrical appliances.
Rob Taylor, area manager, said: “The thoughts and sympathy of everyone at Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service continues to be with the family and friends of the deceased at such a distressing time.
“Many people will no doubt be reading this with understandable safety concerns.
“On the run up to Christmas, I’d like to ask people to take a few vital minutes to consider their own fire safety, and if you do have an elderly relative, friend or neighbour, take a minute to check on them too.
"It’s going to be a very different Christmas this year, so if you’re not able to see them in person, pick up the phone and chat to them about fire safety.
“The most important advice is to ensure there are working smoke alarms on every level of the home and that they are tested weekly.
"Ensure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire and how they would get out.
"You should never attempt to tackle a fire yourself.
“Our advice is simple: Get Out, stay out and call 999.
“Take a minute to check electrical appliances too.
Look out for frayed wires and make sure all electrical appliances are registered.
"This is a simple process that can be done quickly online at Electrical Safety First and will ensure you’re notified if a manufacturer recalls a product.
"Finally, never leave electrical appliances switched on overnight, with the exception of fridges and freezers.”
“The past year has seen a dramatic change to people’s lifestyles, including increased isolation levels for the elderly.
"The impact of this is not yet clear.
"However it is reasonable to consider that people’s routines and daily lives have altered.
"Any change can be difficult and confusing, especially to those with limited support. It can be easy for simple safety measures to be overlooked so please, take a few minutes to check on others – let’s continue to look out for each other.
“As a service we continually assess and monitor emerging risks and put in place actions such as safe and well checks, to help mitigate those risks for our communities.
“At the beginning of 2020 we had little knowledge of the impact the virus would have, but over the last few months we have been working hard to identify additional new risks and trends as a result of Covid-19.
"By doing this we continue to ensure we are best placed to deliver the most appropriate safety messages and interventions to all of our communities as we work to make Derbyshire safer together.”
Anyone concerned about the fire safety of an elderly relative, friend or neighbour can click here for more information and advice.