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Fire Service Lends Support to Cambridgeshires Carers

Published: 9th June 2011 09:40

THIS Carers Week (13-19), Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) is reaching out to local carers to remind them that help is available to keep them, and the people they care for, safe from fire.

Fire safety can easily become yet another worry on an ever-growing list for those with the extra responsibility of looking after an older relative, sick friend or disabled family member.

With over 520,000 carers in the East of England, there are many issues to consider - from the extra time it takes for people with difficulty moving to escape a house fire, to the risks of flammable care equipment such as oxygen cylinders.

This week, CFRS is reminding carers that they are not alone. Local carers can contact their local fire station, or the Home Fire Safety Check freephone number 0800 9179994 to hear what help and advice are available to help make their jobs that little bit easier.

Wendy Coleman, Risk Manager for CFRS responsible for vulnerable people in Cambridgeshire, said: "There is a range of assistance available for carers to help make sure that they and their loved ones are protected - be it simple safety advice over the phone or on our wesbite, to a FREE Home Fire Safety Check or helping them find the specialist equipment that they need.

"The simplest thing any carer can do to prevent fire in their home is make a few easy additions to their normal routine. Testing their loved one's smoke alarm weekly could help give them the vital extra seconds they need to escape in a fire, while simple steps such as closing doors at night and avoiding overloaded plug sockets will help reduce the risk in their home.

"A huge variety of specialist safety equipment is also available - smoke alarms that are connected to vibrating pad for people with a hearing impairment, easy-reach smoke alarm testers for those with limited movement and linked alarm systems are just a few options to help you feel safer."

Paul Matz, Carers Week Manager said: "It is important for carers to know there is support out there to help them care for their loved one.Protecting vulnerable people from fire hazards is an important part of looking after somebody. It's great to see Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service helping carers to get appropriate smoke detectors and advice for both them and their loved one.

If you take care of a loved one, CFRS' advice could help make your - and their - jobs easier should the worst happen:

  • Make sure the person you care for is registered with your local fire and rescue service if they have sight, hearing, mobility problems, or if they use oxygen. This will mean a fire crew is made aware of your circumstances in the event of an emergency.
  • If you have a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000.
  • Make sure that the person you care for knows what to do in the event of a fire.
  • It's a good idea to practise an escape so that you and your loved ones feel confident enough to do it day or night.

Some simple everyday checks can help prevent a household fire:

  • A working smoke alarm can give your loved ones the extra time they need to escape a house fire. Make testing the batteries of their alarms part of your weekly routine.
  • If you can, close inside doors at night. This will help prevent a fire from spreading.
  • If the person you care for uses oxygen cylinders, ensure the equipment is stored safety out of direct sunlight, is well ventilated and always dry and away from heat sources.
  • Never have open flames, smoke or use electrical appliances - such as hairdryers - while using oxygen cylinders.

Specialist equipment is available:

  • 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.
  • If you or the person you care for has a hearing difficulty you can get specialist smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads.
  • Alternatively, consider linking the alarm system to your own - this will alert you to danger.
  • A coloured sticker on the smoke alarm can help people with trouble seeing it to test it, or your local Fire Service might be able to provide a coloured cover.
  • Placing a tactile indicator along your escape route can make it easier for those with sight difficulties to find the exit.
  • Easy access smoke alarms are available for people who have trouble moving around, which can be tested from the wall rather than the ceiling. The Disabled Living Foundation can provide more information on these products.

For further information on fire safety, please contact your local fire station or book a FREE Home Fire Safety Check on 0800 917 9994 or visit www.direct.gov.uk/firekills or www.cambsfire.gov.uk


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