Firefighters’ plea to keep vulnerable older people safe at home

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VULNERABLE older people are the focus of a new fire safety campaign, which calls on communities to help keep them safe from hazards at home.

The move comes after the YEP revealed a spike in the number of fire-related deaths of elderly people across West Yorkshire.

Since the beginning of the year, 10 people over the age of 60 have died following fires in homes across the county – eight of which have been smoking related. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s new ‘Cherished’ campaign runs throughout October and aims to tackle the issue, and asks people to visit elderly neighbours, relatives and friends throughout the winter months and flag up potential hazards in the home whilst preventing social isolation and mental and physical decline.

The fire service is offering free home fire safety checks.

Assistant chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “We are concerned that older people may go under the radar because they feel a burden on public services, but this is entirely incorrect.

“Ultimately we want to save lives.

“Sadly we know that older people are more vulnerable to injury or death as a result of having a fire in the home.

“Smoking is a clear factor in the recent tragedies, however, we believe other risk factors generally include the onset of dementia, immobility, sensory impairment, alcohol consumption, the side effects of medication and social isolation.”

A schools package will also be rolled out across the county.

Mr Walton added: “If kids can recognise the hazards in the homes of their grandparents and use ‘pester power’ to prompt mum and dad into action, then that’s a great success.”

To book a free home fire safety check, visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk, call 0800 5874536 or visit your nearest fire station.

Chris Hearld at KPMG

Winds of change bring work to KPMG in Yorkshire