The cost of living crisis will oversee a sharp rise in accidental fires in the home, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) is warning.
NFCC is concerned that the UK will witness an increase in fire-related serious injuries – and potential fatalities – as people try to find alternative ways to stay warm, light their homes and reduce their overall energy usage as the cost of bills increase.
To combat this, the NFCC is launching its new national campaign ‘Stay Fire Safe’. Rising costs means fire prevention in the home is “now more important than ever”. The campaign, which will be supported by UK fire and rescue services will share important information to help keep communities safe.
In the last quarter of 2021, the were 99 fire-related fatalities with 76 happening in homes, compared to 54 in the same quarter a year before – a 41% rise.
Accidental fires in the home caused by candles in England, in March 2022 totalled 940, the highest recorded in more than 10 years. A third of these fires resulted in death or injury.
NFCC has expressed concern that these figures could rise as members of the public look for ways to deal with rising costs. The campaign will share advice on heating appliances, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, candles and electrical safety. A key area of the campaign is signposting where additional help could be available.
“We know there are going to be face additional hardships as we move into the colder months and we want to ensure advice is easily available. It is likely more people than ever before will need essential prevention advice as energy bills rise,” explained Rick Hylton, Home Safety Chair at NFCC.
“We absolutely acknowledge that many may be doing things differently as they face difficult decisions as the weather changes. We hope our new campaign will help to highlight the dangers, offer simple solutions and help keep loved ones safer in their homes,” he added.
NFCC is calling on people to carry out an online home safety fire check. The accessible tool provides fire safety advice which is personalised. For those at higher risk, local fire and rescue services can conduct home visits to provide additional help and support.
Tenants should check their landlords or housing providers have installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which is a legal obligation. As of October in parts of the UK, the installation of lifesaving alarms will be happening in more homes.
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