More than 5,600 visits have been conducted by Northamptonshire fire crews and fire staff to help some of the most vulnerable people across the county live safer in their homes.
The visits were conducted between April 2022 until March 2023, with almost 1,400 more visits carried out than in 2021/22 as COVID rules were relaxed.
Approximately two thirds of the visits are conducted by fire crews from the 22 stations around the county, and one third are carried out by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Prevention Team and their Home Fire Safety Advisors, who focus on the most vulnerable people with the most complex needs.
These enhanced visits to high-risk people will ensure that risk in their homes are thoroughly evaluated and made safer, often through the addition of working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
The advisors can also make Winter Warmth referrals where they can be put in touch with experts to help them come up with the most financially viable way in which to safely heat their homes.
The cost-of-living crisis has had an impact on many of these vulnerable residents, some of whom can make desperate attempts to heat their homes in an unsafe manner such as with open fires, gas cylinders or using oven hobs.
In a further boost to keep residents safe and warm through the year, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service recently received a welcome donation of Winter Warmth packs from Fire Angel – the company which supplies the Service with its smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. The packs were handed over to NFRS a short while ago (pictured below).
The 75 Winter Warmth packs will be donated to some of our most vulnerable residents once it becomes clear during a Home Fire Safety Visit that they would benefit from one.
The packs consist of a carbon monoxide alarm – usually worth about £20 – which will protect people who cannot afford to have their boiler serviced or chimney flue cleaned by alerting them to harmful carbon monoxide emissions.
Also included in the packs are thermal hats, gloves, socks and a snood, which will help to keep the person warm and hopefully prevent people from coming up with unsafe ways of trying to heat their homes.
Tina Collett, a Prevention Team Leader at Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Since the pandemic we have increased the size of our Home Fire Safety Team and it is so rewarding to see the number of Home Fire Safety Visits we are conducting increase further as a result. It means we are able to support even more of our most vulnerable residents and ensure that their homes are safer and less susceptible to potentially tragic incidents.
“We know the Cost-of-Living Crisis is having a big impact on everyone, but for the most vulnerable members of our communities in particular it means that some are taking any action possible to heat their homes.
“With our visits, along with the very kind donation from Fire Angel, we hope we will be able to help as many of these people as we can stay safe.”