Chairman of the East Sussex Fire Authority Cllr. Phil Howson has called on people in East Sussex and Brighton & Hove to look out for older and vulnerable members of the community and to make sure they are not at risk from fire.
It comes ahead of a strike by members of Fire Brigades Union in the national dispute over pensions. The strike will take place between 12.00 (noon) and 16.00 on Wednesday 25th September.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has put in place contingency plans and trained, professional crews to provide emergency cover. There are also many things that communities can do to stay safe, reduce calls and enable firefighters to focus on emergencies – particularly those where lives may be in danger.
Chairman of the Fire Authority, Councillor Phil Howson said: “Through our Stay Safe campaign, we are reaching out to communities, businesses and other organisations to remind them about the simple steps they can take to prevent fire and save lives – both during the strike and in the longer term.
“But what may seem like simple fire prevention steps to us, such as checking a smoke alarm, clearing some clutter or checking on kitchen safety, can be a major hurdle for older people, those with reduced mobility or people facing other life challenges. If you can, please remember to check in with neighbours, friends and family, especially if they are older or vulnerable.
“If you have a fire, our message is simple. Call 999, get out and stay out.”
Our simple, practical advice to all homeowners includes:
· Fit smoke alarms on each floor in your home, keep them dust-free, and test them once a week. Consider buying a ten-year alarm; otherwise change the batteries every year.
· Take special care when you are tired or when you've been drinking. Most domestic fires happen between 10pm and 8am.
· Make an escape plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape in the event of a fire.
· Keep the exits from your home clear of obstructions so that people can make their escape if there is a fire. Make sure that occupants can find keys for doors and windows easily.
· Take care in the kitchen - accidents while cooking account for 59% of fires in the home. Never leave young children unsupervised in the kitchen.
· Take extra care when cooking with hot oil; if you don't use one already, consider buying an electric thermostatically controlled deep fat fryer.
· Never leave lit candles unattended and ensure that they are in a secure holder on a heat-resistant surface away from flammable materials.
· Don't overload electrical sockets. Remember one socket - one plug!
· Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
· Don't leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire. Always switch it off and unplug it when not in use.
· Ensure cigarettes are stubbed out and disposed of carefully and never smoke in bed.
Our Stay Safe checklists are also available on our website.