Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) will be offering vital fire safety advice to thousands of over 65s this week as part of a national campaign aimed at making our homes safer.
Each year, Older Person’s Day is 1st October - an annual campaign MFRS runs in support of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Home Safety Week. Over the last eight years, MFRS has visited close to 10,000 people over the age of 65 on that day alone.
Each year as part of the campaign, firefighters, advocates and volunteers from all departments of MFRS visit more than 1,000 homes and carry out Home Fire Safety Checks in the homes of our more senior residents. Last year, MFRS marked its biggest and best Older Person’s Day yet, carrying out 730 Home Fire Safety Checks as well as hosting local older people’s community groups at its Service Headquarters for afternoon tea and bingo.
But like many things this year, Older Person’s Day 2020 will be a little different as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and instead of physically going into people’s homes, crews will spend Thursday 1st October delivering vital home fire safety information in leaflet form.
Prevention Group Manager Mark Thomas said: “It’s more important than ever that we all do our bit to keep the most vulnerable members of our communities safe. We are extremely proud to be able to show our support for Older Person’s Day and carry out this crucial day of activity. Our older residents can be particularly at risk of fires in their homes, especially as they may still be using older appliances, using unsuitable heating methods or unable to check their smoke alarms as easily.
“It is disappointing that we’re unable to carry out our usual activity this year as a result of COVID-19 but we need to ensure we are protecting the safety of not only those vulnerable members of the community, but our staff too. We know that prevention work saves lives and although we are unable to physically go into people’s homes, we still need to do all we can to ensure that important safety information reaches those most at risk.”
Crews will also be distributing the leaflets – which contain vital safety information around cooking, heating the home, improper use of candles and cigarettes and the importance of keeping escape routes clear – across Merseyside’s districts throughout the entire Home Safety Week (28th September – 4th October).
Residents who receive the information will be encouraged to contact MFRS if they have concerns about fire safety or are in need of smoke alarms by calling 0800 731 5958.
GM Thomas added: “We know that more people are spending time at home now as a result of coronavirus, and are less likely to be able to physically check on their elderly relatives, friends and neighbours. You can still play your part though – next time you speak to them on the phone, why not ask them if their smoke alarm is working? If it’s not, or they’re not sure, give us a call and we can help.
“Many Merseyside residents will be eligible for free smoke alarms, particularly those over 65 and anyone who is referred to MFRS by a partner agency. Requesting a visit can be particularly important in the case of someone who may have mobility issues or sensory impairment. You can look after your elderly friends, neighbours and relatives by calling 0800 731 5958.”