Elderly Ashfield residents sign up to home safety check

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Around 11 percent of Ashfield residents aged over 85 have signed up to a home safety check and a free smoke alarm thanks to a joint initiative carried about by Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

The council’s customer service centre contacted service users aged 85 and over to find out if they would like the free service to reduce their chances of a fire or an accident in their home.

The checks take approximately 45 minutes, during which time the firefighters complete a detailed checklist, advising residents on a range of safety issues including the risk of overloading plugs, trailing wires and the importance of installing and regular testing of smoke alarms.

Approximately 560 residents were contacted overall, with around 48 percent of people already having smoke alarms in place. Both authorities are now working together to ensure these have been recently tested.

Due to the success and take up the pilot will shortly be rolled out to other districts in the county.

There were 207 house fires involving an elderly resident in Nottinghamshire in 2012/13 compared to 187 in 2011/12 and 193 in 2010/11.

Paul McKay, Service Director for Promoting Independence and Public Protection at the council, said: “We are really pleased with the success of this pilot and will continue to work in partnership with the Fire and Rescue Service to encourage this vulnerable group, who already access our services, to have a safety check to prevent the risk of fire and injuries in their home.”

Chris Hooper, Engagement and Partnership Manager, at the Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Through the pilot scheme, we carried out 60 Home Fire Safety Checks on vulnerable individuals in the Ashfield area. This pilot will now be evaluated to look at how it can be improved before it is rolled out across the county, district by district.

“This is a major step forward for us and will enable us to quickly and efficiently identify and assist people that we consider most at risk of fire.”

People over the age of 85 wanting a free home fire safety check should contact the Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 022 3235 or email vulnerable.people@notts-fire.gov.uk

A free tool to assist older people to test their smoke alarms without the need for standing on chairs or climbing ladders are available free of charge from the Council by calling 0115 977 4676 or calling the Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 022 3235.