Last year in England, 3,849 accidental electrical fires were reported in the homes of people aged 65 and over, the equivalent of 11 a day and accounting for a quarter of all accidental electrical fires reported in dwellings in England during 2017/18. And 81% of these fires happened in homes where the occupant lived alone.
As this week is Electrical Safety Week, we speak to Welfare Case Worker Karen Lane for some tips around how to keep safe at this time of year.
“With the winter approaching, it’s more important than ever that we ensure all our beneficiaries have their adequate needs – food, shelter, and heating – met,” she says. “This time of year can be hard, especially for elderly people, but we’re here to help.”
As the temperatures drop, heating goes for longer than normal and often at higher temperatures, so it’s very important you check your boiler has been serviced recently.
“We can help arrange for boiler replacements if they’ve been condemned,” says Karen. “We want to make sure you’re kept warm in a safe way, so if you’re in any doubt, get in touch with us.”
It’s also important to resist overloading sockets with electric blankets or heaters, and make sure you have a good supply of torch batteries for any winter power cuts.
There are financial implications to this time of year as well; Christmas puts an added pressure on top of things and bills can get tight.
“We can support with advice and ensure you get any welfare benefits available to you, like the Winter Fuel Allowance,” says Karen. “It becomes a big pressure, worrying about how to heat and feed yourself. Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t just make do. Pick up the phone and call us to see how we can help. Every case is treated individually, so don’t hesitate to come to us.”
You can find more tips on electrical safety online. If you would like to discuss how The Fire Fighters Charity may be able to help you, phone the Customer Care Team on 01256 366 581.