A rise in the number of older people who have died in fires across West Yorkshire has prompted a new campaign urging people to look out for vulnerable neighbours.
So far this year, 10 people over 60 have died following fires in homes across the county.
In May, an elderly woman was found dead by firefighters called to a blaze at her flat in Primrose Hill. Fire crews made the grim discovery at the ground floor flat in Whitehead Lane.
Now West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has launched its ‘Cherished’ campaign, calling on communities to look out for vulnerable elderly neighbours, relatives and friends over the winter.
It has released a video giving tips for a safe and healthy winter, and is also offering people the chance to book a free home fire safety check.
The campaign does not solely promote fire safety but also wellbeing. Using the slogan ‘kindness in a cuppa’ it urges well-wishers to pop in on older people and flag up potential hazards while preventing social isolation.
Assistant chief fire officer Dave Walton said: “Sadly we know that older people are more vulnerable to injury or death as a result of having a fire in the home.
“Whilst many proudly live independently, we know that living alone can also put you at greater risk from fire.”
Mr Walton said smoking was a factor in a number of the recent deaths. Other risk factors included the onset of dementia, immobility, sensory impairment, alcohol consumption, the side effects of medication and social isolation.
“Ultimately these factors can make it harder for older people to be aware of a fire, raise the alarm and make an unaided escape,” he said.
“We can carry out a free home visit, install smoke alarms and put measures in place to prevent fires breaking out as well as referring people to our partner organisations where appropriate. Ultimately we want to save lives.”
To book a free home fire safety check visit the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue website, ring 0800 5874536 or call into any fire station.