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Here are 10 tips from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service to ensure older people are safe from fire in the home:
- Fit and maintain a smoke alarm – you should have one on each level of your home. The ideal position is on the ceiling, in the middle of a room, or on the hallway or landing. Do not put alarms in or near kitchens or bathrooms where smoke or steam can set them off by accident.
- Test it weekly. A working smoke alarm can give you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999.
- Do not remove the batteries. If your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, do not remove the batteries. Instead move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
- Stay safe in the kitchen. This is the area where the majority of house fires start so never leave cooking unattended. If you need to leave the kitchen turn electrical appliances off and take pans off the heat.
- In the event of a fire ‘Get out, stay out and call 999!’ Do not delay for valuables, do not investigate or try to tackle the fire. Use a mobile, a neighbour’s phone or a phone box to call 999. If someone needs to be rescued wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it. Never go back in.
- Do not overload plug sockets. One plug per socket is the rule, be careful not to let leads trail over cookers or touch water.
- Get ‘key clever’. Keys for windows and doors should be in an accessible place where everyone can find them so you can get out quickly in the event of a fire.
- Plan your escape route. Make sure you and your family know the quickest way out in the event of fire. Consider an alternative route in case your usual one is blocked.
- Be candle smart. Keep candles in secure holders, on a surface that does not burn, and away from any materials that could burn, such as curtains.
- Make sure that electric blankets are turned off and stored flat (not rolled up) when not in use. Never use them with a hot water bottle. Statistics show that fires caused by electrical appliances and electric blankets have the highest rate of injury, with 440 injuries for every 1,000 fires.