‘Take care of fire safety’ is a key message from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) this Carers’ Week.
Carers’ Week ( June 11 to 17) is an annual campaign running across the country with the aim of highlighting and recognising the challenges faced by carers.
NFRS is supporting the week by sharing some fire safety information which could help keep carers and the people they support a little safer in their homes.
Home Fire Safety Check
Carers have so many responsibilities, but NFRS would like to remind them that the home fire safety check service can be booked for all elderly and / or vulnerable people, giving an extra layer of help and reassurance.
When a home fire safety check is booked, NFRS will visit a person’s home and let them know all the potential danger points and give them help and tips on how to make things safer. That can even include fitting a smoke alarm for someone who is frail or less mobile.
District Liaison Officer Tina Collett said: “Thousands of people across the country care for loved ones every day, this could be an elderly parent who needs support from an adult child, or it can be a younger person helping support a parent who has become less mobile through accident, illness or a specific condition.
“In issuing this advice and reminding people about our home fire safety checks, we want carers to know we recognise how pressured their work is and we are there to turn to for fire safety advice and support, to relieve a little of that worry."
Fire safety can be a concern for carers as there are extra issues to consider, such as the extra time it may take someone with mobility issues to escape from their home if a fire happens. It may also be more difficult for people with certain disabilities to fit and check smoke alarms in their own homes.
But there are simple steps carers can take to help make life safer for themselves and the people in their care.
Home fire safety tips for carers:
Read more about home fire safety checks
- Practical fire safety steps for those living with conditions such as dementia can include shut-off devices which stop the gas supply if a cooker is left on, or a gas tap which can be turned off to prevent unsupervised cooking.
- If there is a fire, make sure you and the person you care for knows what to do and how to escape. It is a good idea to practise escape routes just in case the unexpected happens. Also, make sure escape routes are clear of clutter and obstructions.
- If oxygen is used in the home, make sure it is kept safely and out of direct sunlight. It should be kept dry and away from other heat sources. Oxygen should also be out of the way when you are smoking, near an open flame or using an electrical appliance such as a hairdryer.
- If you care for someone who has difficulties hearing, it is possible to acquire specialist smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads. Alternatively, consider linking the alarm system to your own as this can alert you to danger.
- If someone has difficulties with vision, a coloured sticker on a smoke alarm can help them to test it.
- Make time once a month to test the smoke alarms of someone you care for.
- Placing a tactile indicator along your escape route can make it easier for those with sight difficulties to find an exit.
- Make sure the person you care for is registered with NFRS if they have sight, hearing, mobility difficulties or if they use oxygen. This will give fire crews more information in the event of an emergency. Ring 01604 797 000.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take time to book a home fire safety visit from NFRS. These include personalised advice to address particular issues people may have in keeping safe at home. For more information and to book, ring 01604 797 000 or 0300 1261 000 (option 5).