Firefighters encourage pensioners to check their fire safety action on Older People’s Day

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Older People’s Day is being celebrated across the country on Wednesday.

For the first ever UK Ageing Safely Week, from September 29 to October 5, firefighters want to take the opportunity to encourage senior citizens to review their fire safety arrangements.

Neil Boustred, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “The good news is that people are living longer.

“It has been estimated that about a quarter of the population will be 65 or over by 2037, including six million people aged 80 or over.

“The bad news is that the risk of dying in a fire for those aged 65 or over is more than twice as high as the average for all ages.

“Because of this combination of factors, it’s vital that we do everything we can to engage with people in this age group. We want them to live long and full lives as independently as possible.

“Firefighters will carry out a safety check in your home, fitting smoke alarms where needed and discussing individual fire safety concerns, free of charge.

“They can also point people in the direction of other sources of help, if needed, and give advice on making an escape plan in the event of an emergency.”

To book one of these visits, ring 01296 744477 or send an email to cs@bucksfire.gov.uk.

Visits can also be booked by carers, families, friends and neighbours – but don’t forget to tell the person you are booking it for.

In the meantime, Neil is encouraging people to follow these top tips:

Stand by your pan – never leave cooking unattended. Keep your cooker clean, as burnt food and fat can cause fires.

Unplug appliances when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on. Regularly check for worn or frayed wires.

Keep heaters away from curtains, furniture and material – and never use them to dry clothes.

Always place candles and tealights in a suitable fire-resistant holder.

If you smoke, stub cigarettes out properly and dispose of them carefully. If you need a lie down, don’t light up! Don’t smoke in bed - you could doze off and start a fire.

Read the Fire safety for people with sight, hearing or mobility issues booklet.