Residents urged to Save Safely

31 October 2023

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is reigniting its Save Safely campaign to help people stay warm in a safe way, as the cost-of-living crisis continues.

Public, Seasonal safety

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) will be helping people to stay warm safely this winter, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to force some households to cut back.

As part of its Save Safely campaign, which touched the lives of hundreds of people last year, the fire service will again be touring the county during the colder months.  

The campaign was born out of the fire service’s concern for residents’ safety as life became more expensive, predicting increased reliance on portable heaters, electric blankets, and open fires - all of which come with a fire risk if not used correctly and carefully. 

Conversations with the public around safe saving tips and behaviours form a key part of the initiative, but for people most in need, the fire service provides more support than some people might realise: 

A veteran struggling to stay warm

KFRS officers met a senior veteran during a Save Safely roadshow, who admitted he was struggling to stay warm at home and felt poorly as a result. The team referred him for armed forces support, put the wheels in motion for a council tax rebate after discovering he was overpaying, checked he was on the correct energy tariffs, and made him aware of benefits he could claim.  

A man considering setting an unsafe fire 

The team spoke with a gentleman who had no money left for gas or electricity, and said he was considering starting a fire in his living room to stay warm – which is very dangerous and not advised, unless you have a proper fireplace. KFRS officers arranged for him to have a free home fire safety visit, referred him to other agencies that could provide support, and advised him of other low-cost ways to stay warm safely.

Warmth vs hunger

Some people find themselves torn between paying for a warm home or a full stomach, and this was the case for a couple visited by KFRS during a free home fire safety visit. The officer noticed the fridge was empty and sensitively broached the subject, which led to the residents opening up about financial difficulties. The KFRS officer linked them up with Citizens Advice and a food bank and made sure they had a hot meal on the table that evening. 

Leanne McMahon, KFRS Area Manager for Customer Safety, said: “As temperatures start to drop, we’re encouraging people to take a look at our safe saving tips and heating hazard information, so they can make sure they’re safe while staying warm for less this winter.

“Our Save Safely campaign impacts lots of people in different ways – for one person it’s as simple as advising them to turn radiators off in lesser used rooms to save money safely, or how best to use an electric blanket or heater to reduce the chance of a fire. For someone else it could mean taking immediate action because they’re in a much more vulnerable situation, where our support this winter could save their life. 

“We have a task force team that collaborates with other agencies and charities across Kent and Medway, that focuses on this type of work, making sure people get the joined up help they need when they need it most. Because together we can make a difference.”

Kent and Medway residents wanting to discuss general home safety advice can call KFRS on 0800 923 7000, Monday to Friday, between 9am-5pm. 

Save Safely 2023