IT’S GOOD TO BE A
Who should I look out for?
It could be anyone… but especially those who are vulnerable, elderly or isolated. There are many people in our communities who struggle to keep their homes and themselves warm during winter, which can cause illness and exposes them to the risk of a house fire. Scroll down to see some things you might want to look out for…
Or read Frederick’s story here.
How do I get involved?
It’s easy… Simply reach out to relatives, loved ones, friends and neighbours. Let them know they’re not on their own. Check that they’re warm enough and ask if there’s anything they need help with. Look out for the warning signs listed on this page, pass on our key safety information and keep an eye on our social media channels. Otherwise, let us do the talking- scroll down and complete the form to order a free Christmas card which you can then post through your neighbours letterbox.
You can also get involved as a business, complete the form below to order flyers and pin badges which you can display and distribute to help share the message.
Who's on board?
We have some great partners on board, like the Silver Line. Find out more about how they can help you or your neighbour, or indeed how you can help them by volunteering or donating. It’s worth remembering though, that it isn’t just older people who suffer at this time of year, it is also those living in isolation, battling addiction, experiencing poverty or suffering from a physical or mental illness. See the dropdown for a list of partner services who might be able to help.
Is their home falling into disrepair? Or are there signs that they may be struggling to maintain their property? This may be an indicator that they are struggling and could benefit from ours or our partner agencies support.
Are their curtains always drawn shut? It might be nothing, but it could be a sign that someone is feeling down or living in conditions which might be unsafe.
Do their escape routes appear blocked? For example with furniture or refuse… This might mean that in the event of a fire or other emergency they may struggle to evacuate their home. Gangways and corridors blocked by items might also generate a tripping hazard, which could lead to injury.
Are they leaving the house less? Has there been a dramatic change in their routine? Maybe they’ve stopped heading out for their morning paper or maybe they’ve fallen ill. Why not ask “how are you?” next time you see them?
Do they smoke inside the property? If they do, do they have a substantial ashtray? If you notice burn marks then please suggest they register for a free Home Fire Safety check.
Is their cooker top dirty or have they been using it as a means of storage? This is, in fact, one of the leading causes of house fires in Lancashire but it’s super easy to avoid; remind them to keep it clean and keep it clear.
Are they using portable heaters? If they are, they should be least 1 metre away from items that could catch fire. With the heater themselves, do they look to be in good working order without frayed wires or damaged plugs?
Are they using candles? Candles and tealights, especially when left unattended create a huge fire risk. Remind them, especially if they’re forgetful, of the risks posed by candles. Often, melting hot wax can run and cause other items to combust.
Is their house poorly ventilated or are there signs of damp? Mould patches on the walls and a ‘damp smell’ are major tell tail signs that a house lacks ventilation or is often too cold. Living in this environment can have an adverse effect on an invididuals health, causing respiratory problems, infections, allergies or asthma.
Are there any faulty electricals? Exposed, damaged or frayed wires can spark and cause a fire, which will spread quickly. Keep an eye out for any faults and if something concerns you suggest a free Home Fire Safety Check.
If you frequent their property, have a look to see if they have smoke alarms installed, and if they do, do they know if they are working? Why not offer to test them for them if they struggle?
It’s always best to get fire safety advice tailored to the individual and our free Home Fire Safety Check service can do just that. If you notice any of the above warning signs why not suggest they register for the service? You could help them fill out our online form or pass on our freephone contact number; 0800 169 1125.
- Partner Services and Support
If you’d prefer to discuss a free home fire safety check over the phone then you can contact us on: 0800 169 1125.
The Silver Line is the free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Contact them on: 0800 4 70 80 90.
A free, confidential national phone service for older people, their families, friends, carers and professionals. Contact them on: 0800 678 1602.
If you or someone you know are worried about or affected by dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society is here for you. Call the national dementia hotline on: 0300 222 11 22.
Mind, the mental health charity. Contact them on: 0300 123 33 93. Text them, on: 86463
Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan will face it with you. 24/7, 365, call: 116 123
An independent charitable organisation working across the Lancashire boroughs of Preston, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Chorley, they provide practical support as well as advice and information to enable older, disabled and vulnerable people to stay safe, secure, warm and independent in their own homes. Call them on: 01772 204096.
A countywide energy efficiency and affordable warmth initiative. They provide support and cost-effective heating and energy solutions for homeowners and private renters. Contact them on: 03306 061488.
The Priority Services Register (PSR) is a free service provided by energy suppliers and network operators to customers in need. Add yourself or someone else to the register with; Electricity North West, United Utilities, Candent Gas.
Progress Lifeline is a not for profit organisation and is part of the Progress Housing Group based in Lancashire. They provide personal alarms and 24/7 emergency home response service to help people live more independently. Our lifeline buttons can be pressed or activated automatically if someone falls, to call our 24/7 control centre team who can provide help for the user by calling the appropriate emergency contact.
Sign up to send our free Christmas card now!
- Frederick's Story
In August 2019, ninety-six year old war veteran Frederick was admitted to hospital by ambulance.Frederick had not long lost his wife of 75 years, and was still adjusting to a life of independent living. Most of his family had moved away for work purposes and every Friday he would be visited by his carer- this would often be the only human contact Frederick had during the week.Frederick was very much used to doing the chores, like putting out the bins or letting the cat in and out of the house, and so he had no reason to believe that this day would be any different. Unbeknown to Frederick the winds had picked up dramatically overnight. He’s partially deaf and so was unable to hear the roaring outside, and he always keeps his curtains drawn to keep in the heat, and because he fears that burglars might target him. Tomorrow was bin day, and so as per usual Frederick proceeded to take out the rubbish through his garage door. As he opened it, the door was caught by a sudden gust causing it to slam shut, striking him over the head in the process. Ordinarily, Frederick could have counted on his wife, or his carer to come to his aid, but because it was a Sunday no one came.Cold, injured, alone, afraid and unable to lift himself, Frederick had been outside for 14 hours. He had been bleeding quite heavily from an open wound at the top of his head, and he was worried that no-one would find him as he looked down his driveway at cars and passers by going about their typical rush hour business. Time passed, and he had started to become hopeless and began fearing for his life. It was by chance that his next door neighbour, who is also elderly, was out for the day, and so a courier had to deliver her parcel to Frederick’s house instead. Luckily, the courier driver noticed Frederick and immediately called 999. The ambulance service wasted no time in treating Frederick and admitting him to hospital where he made a full recovery.
Frederick was lucky, and this situation could have ended very differently indeed. It is stories like these which make us feel so passionately about our winter safety campaign. So when we say ‘It’s good to be a Nosey Neighbour’ we don’t mean peaking, sneaking or creeping, we mean it’s good to be there and look out for neighbours, loved ones and those living around you. Just think…do you have a Frederick living in your community? Get involved with our campaign by following and sharing our winter safety information, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #NoseyNeighbour or sign up by clicking here.
*This is a true story, although some details have been changed to preserve the anonymity of the victim, including the use of stock images, available here: https://bit.ly/2X7tkrE