Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) is sharing some fire safety advice which could help keep carers and the people they support a bit safer in their homes to mark Carers Week (June 5-11).
Carers play vital roles in our communities, supporting and assisting some of our county’s most vulnerable people, who are often most at risk from fire related incidents in the home. Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service has put in place a range of work to support them.
Throughout the year NFRS Prevention Officers join a range of carers’ groups to ensure that fire safety is a priority when supporting another person. They have recently attended a Breathing Space Group in Moulton to talk about fire safety to those people living with COPD or other lung related conditions and their carers. Further visits are being carried out over the coming weeks and anyone interested in requesting a talk can do so via the Request Form section on the NFRS website and scrolling down to Community Safety Visits.
This week, Karen Bell, Home Fire Safety Advisor and Darren Carson, Prevention Team Leader at NFRS are joining other community and social care providers at Lakeside Healthcare Centre in Corby to encourage patients who are carers to register for a Home Fire Safety Visit. Karen and Darren were at the surgery today (7 June) between 10am and 1pm alongside Northamptonshire Carers, Social Prescribing Link Workers, Agewell Team and other community groups.
A Home Fire Safety Visit offers tailored advice based on the homeowner or residents’ personal circumstances. The potential dangers and fire risks will be discussed, and residents will receive help and tips on how to make things safer in their home. That can even include fitting a smoke alarm for someone who is frail or less mobile.
Prevention Team Leader Tina Collett said: “Thousands of people across the county care for loved ones every day, this could be an elderly parent who needs support, or it can be a younger person helping support a parent.
“Carers Week is about raising awareness of the great work carried out by unpaid carers and ensuring they have the support they need to carry out their caring role. At Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service we regularly meet with carers from across the county throughout the year to promote fire safety messages and wherever possible arrange a Home Fire Safety Visit.”
Fire safety can be a concern for carers as there are extra issues to consider, such as the extra time it may take someone with mobility issues to escape from their home if a fire happens. It may also be more difficult for people with certain disabilities to fit and check smoke alarms in their own homes.
Tina added: “I encourage anyone who is a carer to reach out to the Fire Service to find out more about how we can help and support you and those people you are caring for.”
You can find out more and request a Home Fire Safety Visit on the NFRS website. You can also carry out your own check by clicking on the ‘Start your home fire safety check’ button.
Alternatively, follow a few simple steps to help make life safer for yourself and the people in your care.
Top 10 fire safety tips for carers
- Call NFRS if you are concerned about someone’s fire safety. Ring 01604 797000 and ask to speak to the Home Safety Team. For more details about Home Safety Visits
- Practical fire safety steps for those living with conditions such as dementia can include shut-off devices which stop the gas supply if a cooker is left on, or a gas tap which can be turned off to prevent unsupervised cooking.
- If there is a fire, make sure you and the person you care for knows what to do and how to escape. It is a good idea to practise escape routes just in case the unexpected happens. Also, make sure escape routes are clear of clutter and obstructions.
- If oxygen is used in the home, make sure it is kept safely and out of direct sunlight. It should be kept dry and away from other heat sources. Oxygen should also be out of the way when you are smoking, near an open flame or using an electrical appliance such as a hairdryer.
- If you care for someone who has difficulties hearing, it is possible to acquire specialist smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads. Alternatively, consider linking the alarm system to your own as this can alert you to danger.
- If someone has difficulties with vision, a coloured sticker on a smoke alarm can help them to test it.
- Make sure smoke alarms are being tested at least once a month.
- Placing a tactile indicator along your escape route can make it easier for those with sight difficulties to find an exit.
- If you live with the person you care for, consider fitting an intercom which will allow you to alert someone else in the house in an emergency.
- Easy access smoke alarms are available for people who have trouble moving around. These can be tested from the wall rather than the ceiling. The Disabled Living Foundation can provide more information on these products.
For more information visit the Home Safety pages.