As we find ourselves heading into the depths of winter and we brace ourselves for the cold wintery weather still to come Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service staff are getting in to full swing with this year’s winter safety campaign. The key message? Staying safe, warm and well this winter.
There are many people in our communities who will find themselves struggling to keep their homes and themselves warm over the next few months and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are asking those people to reach out for help.
There are many reasons why people find themselves living in a cold home, whether its financial strain, broken heating equipment, homes in a poor state or repair, poor insulation, complicated heating equipment that the user struggles to operate or even misunderstandings about how the cold can be good for you. Whatever the reason, the cold hard fact remains that; being too cold can make underlying health problems worse and could also increase your fire risk.
Jane Williams the Prevention Support Manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service heads up the winter safety campaign group and said:
“Fuel poverty can affect anyone. There is sometimes a belief that it only affects those on low incomes, but in reality that’s just not the case.
And as the cost of heating our homes over winter becomes more of a burden people will either turn to alternative ways of heating their homes; through portable heaters, candles, open fires or cookers for example; or not at all and that’s risky both from a health and wellbeing point of view and fire safety.
We want people to know that they don’t just have to batten down the hatches and live with the cold. We can help by offering support and fire safety guidance and put them in touch with the right people to get them the right support that they need.
There are actually many options available to help people keep warm over the winter months that they may not know about. This could be through improved insulation, better heating equipment or financial support.”
Ideally people’s homes should be around 18°C and as part of the campaign the Service are giving away Safe, Warm and Well cards which include fire safety information and a thermometer so that people can keep an eye on the temperature.
Jane went on to say:
“We want people to reach out and get in touch if they are struggling and arrange a free home fire safety check visit. Not only can we tailor fire safety advice to your individual needs but we can put you in touch with the people who can offer you the right support to stay safe, warm and well this winter.”
Some people may not even consider themselves to be at risk and so members of the public can help promote this campaign too by encouraging those people to get in touch with us. There are some simple things to keep an eye out for that may indicate that a person could benefit from a visit from ourselves.
Things to look out for:
- Wearing lots of layers of clothing?
- Heating just one room in the house
- Hot water bottles and blankets lying around chairs
- Damp in the house (discoloured patches on walls/ ceilings or a smell of damp)
- Blocked air vents to stop the cold getting in
- Clothes and or furnishings very close to heat sources
- Portable heaters, candles or cookers being used as a source of heating
- Ill health, have they developed coughs, colds, breathing difficulties or has their mobility reduced?
The Winter Safety campaign is due to run through until March next year and will see our firefighters, community safety staff and partners working together to help get assistance to those that need it most across our communities. So if you or someone you know is struggling to keep warm this winter, don’t live with the cold, reach out! We can help.
Get in touch by telephone on 0800 169 11 25 or alternatively online at www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk/home-fire-safety quoting campaign code WS01.