|I would like to take
this opportunity to explain how the Fire Service can help the members of the
community and you the members of the community can help the Fire Service.
|We have long recognised that most
people who die or are injured in fires do so in the home.
|Recent research suggests that for many
older people, fire safety issues tend to be less immediately top of the mind
than the need to protect their homes from intruders. Findings from the 2000
British Crime Survey suggest that older people are actually less likely to
experience a domestic fire than younger people. However, when they do
experience such a fire, the consequences are often far more serious.
Approximately half of all accidental dwelling fire deaths in England and Wales
every year occur amongst the over 60's. Over the past five years, the average
fatality rate in accidental dwelling fires has been higher amongst the over
60's compared to the average fatality rate for the population as a whole.
|Understanding the specific issues and
problems faced by older people is vital to the development of successful
strategies to reduce deaths in accidental household fires. Furthermore, data
from campaign tracking research suggest that the over 65's are a particularly
"hard to influence" group via traditional media sources, this may be due to
little awareness of where to go for help and guidance on fire safety issues.
Whilst most would welcome advice from the Fire Service, few are aware that they
can approach the Fire Service for help. Indeed, there is some reluctance to do
so for fear of wasting the Service's time.
|This is where you can help; elderly
people often have many fire risks in their home, which if identified correctly,
can be easily rectified. Sometimes the only contact with the outside world for
these people will be you. This may be a member of the family, a family friend
or even a neighbour.
|SO WHEN POSSIBLE:
|· Spare a minute to check on
elderly relatives and neighbours...Are they safe from fire?
|· Check their smoke detector