For Older People

Our latest advertising campaign is aimed at promoting free home fire safety visits for people aged 60 or over.

New statistics reveal that over the last five years 61 per cent of all accidental dwelling fire fatalities were people aged 60 and over. And more than a third of accidental dwelling fire casualties (38 per cent) were also people aged 60 and over.  

Although the risk of fire and fire injury increases as you get older there are simple measures that can be taken to keep safe.  

Here is some advice to help ensure older people are safe from fire in their home:

  • Fit and maintain working smoke alarms - you should have one on each level of your home in hallways, plus one smoke alarm in every living room. Consider fitting additional smoke alarms in bedrooms, particularly where persons are bedridden or otherwise vulnerable from fire due to ill health or disability.  You should fit at least one heat alarm in every kitchen in your home. The best place for a smoke or heat alarm is on the ceiling. Try and keep them 30cm (12 inches) away from any walls, lights, doors, heating or air-conditioning vents. 

  • All alarms should be ceiling mounted and interlinked.

  • Test alarms weekly. A working smoke or heat alarm can give you valuable time to get out, stay out and dial 999.
  • Do not remove 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.  Heat alarms are ideal for the kitchen.
  • 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.  Make sure you have at least one heat alarm in every kitchen.
  • 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.
  • 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.

We want to make sure your home is as safe from fire as it can be.  During a Home Fire Safety Visit we’ll help you spot possible fire hazards.  We'll also help you sort out a fire escape plan and provide information about smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms.  The process only takes about 20 minutes, and their advice and help could save your life.


Many of us know a friend, relative or neighbour, often someone living alone, who could be vulnerable.  If you do know someone who could be at risk from fire, please tell them about our service.  Or even contact us yourself to let us know.