Prevention team continues its work to protect vulnerable people against fire

Testing a smoke alarm

The home fire safety of the most vulnerable people in Northamptonshire is still a top priority for the Fire Service during the current pandemic.

Each year, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) carries out thousands of Home Safety Visits to elderly people and others who may need support in keeping their homes safe from fire.

When the pandemic ‘lockdown’ began, NFRS scaled back the face-to-face contact it was having with residents in Northamptonshire, to help avoid the spread of Covid 19.

But the Home Safety Team ensured its support of people most at risk of fire in their homes continued, as they found other ways to maintain this vital contact.

While many visits are not currently being carried out in person, when referrals are received for Home Safety Visits, initial contact is made over the telephone.

Important fire safety advice is then given over the phone, as it would have been given in a home visit, including advice about smoke alarms, cooking safety and general fire safety such as advice on candle and electrical appliance use. Advice on bedtime routines (such as closing internal doors at night) and tips on planning and protecting escape routes, in case of fire, is also given.

When a person is seen as being very vulnerable and at a high risk of fire, visits are still made – but with extreme caution paid to avoiding any virus spread, such as with appropriate PPE use and social distancing in place.

The usual procedure in a Home Safety Visit is to check a person’s home to identify any potential fire risks and also to make sure they have measures in place, such as the correct number of smoke alarms, to protect and warn in case of a fire. But many of these facts can be gained remotely, over the telephone.

Prevention Team Leader Tina Collett said: “With so many vulnerable people in Northamptonshire relying on the fire service to check their homes to make sure they are safe and to put measures in place such as installing smoke alarms, it is really important that we are able to continue to cover this work, despite the challenges posed by Covid 19 restrictions.

“We are so pleased to have been able to continue our fire safety work during this pandemic and make sure that, while people are staying home, we can check their homes are really safe”.

To find out more about Home Safety Visits, please visit: https://www.northantsfire.gov.uk/safety/home-safety-checks/

Top tips for making sure your home is fire safe:

1) Make sure you have working smoke alarms installed in your home. They need to be on every level of your property.

2) Use your time at home to dust/hoover around the edges of your alarm. Alarms can be affected by a build-up of dirt and dust.

3) Make sure smoke alarms are tested once a month. Remember, press to test. If the alarm needs new batteries, replace them immediately.

4) If there was a fire in your home, could you escape safely? Prepare a fire escape plan that you and everyone you live with knows, so you know how to get out quickly in case of fire.

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