News release text
Keeping elderly and vulnerable people safe from fire was the main message of the day when Thames-side firefighters opened their doors to some of Gravesend’s key community groups.
The fire station in Coldharbour Road was the venue for ‘Community Connect for Carers’ today, Monday 21 January, aimed at raising fire safety awareness among specially invited care groups.
The event was prompted after 68 accidental house fires in the Thames Gateway area from January 2012 to December 2012. These ranged from fires caused by electrical appliances to unattended cooking and led to 4 people needing to go to hospital suffering from injuries including burns and smoke inhalation.
Thames-side Watch Manager, Dave Mayhew, said: “While some people are able to stay healthy and active for many years after they retire, others will become frail and need extra care. We want those at most risk to receive the best possible fire safety advice to help them continue to live independently and stay safe in their own homes for as long as possible.
“Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is keen to work closely with colleagues in other sectors to identity those who need our help. This special event for key groups gave us the opportunity to provide valuable life-saving tips so that carers can look out for certain safety issues when they care for people in their homes and know where to turn for further help if they identify potential fire safety problems.”
Safety in the home, particularly the kitchen, was the main theme and around 15 guests from a range of different backgrounds including various ethnic groups and carers’ organisations saw a number of displays. These included a visit to KFRS’s hazard perception room to test their knowledge of potential fire hazards and a chip pan demonstration, showing the devastating effects of using water on a cooking oil fire.
Samantha Jones is KFRS’s Partnership Manager. She said: “Our dedicated team works with around 100 vulnerable people every month, including helping people with dementia stay safe and independent in their own homes. The service is free and the specially trained team will visit, assess what is needed and offer essential advice to the person and their carers. That could include anything from cooker shut offs when someone is getting forgetful about turning off the hob, to fire proof blankets or lockable electric sockets.
“Please remember we are here to help, the sooner we are made aware of a possible situation the sooner we can work towards a remedy.”