Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to check on their older neighbours and family members this winter as part of a campaign to reduce the number of electrical fires involving elderly people.
Statistics show that the kitchen is the most hazardous room in the home for older people, especially those living alone, with more than 80% of accidental electrical fires starting there, nearly three quarters of which are due to the misuse of appliances.
“There are a number of simple things we can all do to help keep older friends, neighbours and family safer this winter,” said Pammy-Sue Jones, a Vulnerable Persons Officer at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“It just takes a few minutes to check that the older people living near you have working smoke alarms and that the electrical appliances that they are using are in good working order. Simply doing that will give an elderly person peace of mind and help keep them safe in their home,” Pammy-Sue added.
As part of its Electrical Safety First Campaign and in a bid to provide the public with as much safety advice as possible, members of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service’s prevention team will be manning an advice and information stand in the Tesco store in Shrewsbury on Thursday, 22 November between 12.30pm and 5pm.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has highlighted some simple visual checks that relatives and neighbours can carry out:
· Watch out for overloaded plug sockets – many people use four-way bar adaptors to allow them to plug more appliances in, particularly in older properties that do not have as many sockets.
· Don’t store flammable “clutter” near electrical sockets or on top of microwaves.
· Make sure that portable heaters are not being used to dry or heat clothes and are not left switched on and unattended. Also watch out for trailing cables that can cause a trip hazard.
· Check that electric blankets are in good condition and that manufacturers’ instructions are followed. If a blanket is more than ten years old it probably needs replacing.
· Check for electrical product recalls and safety notices at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/recall