Advice to ‘stay safe & warm’ this winter

A MAJOR campaign is being launched to help people to stay safe and warm in their homes during the cold winter months.

Cleveland Fire Brigade is leading the ‘Stay Safe & Warm’ campaign that aims to raise awareness of the dangers faced by people who struggle to keep warm during the cold months and to highlight the help and support available to them.

Every year around 25,000 people in the UK die because they cannot keep warm in their own homes due to either faulty heating or because worries about the cost of fuel force them to turn their heating off.

Chiefs say people are also tempted to turn their heating down to unsafe levels or use cheaper and less safe forms of heating.

Organisations will work together to identify people who are at risk and give them advice and support, ranging from organising safe, temporary heating to specialist guidance on managing their fuel bills.

Almost 400 people received help during last year’s campaign, including Susan Hamilton, from the Oxford Road area of Hartlepool.

She said: “I live in a rented property and at the time my 27-year-old disabled daughter Toni was sleeping in a small downstairs room with no heating.

“I soon got a visit from the fire brigade and they immediately provided some thermal blankets and temporary heating. They then got in touch with other organisations and before long my house was being extended to create a specially adapted bedroom for my daughter with permanent heating, which is great.”

Phil Lancaster, Cleveland Fire Brigade’s director of community protection, said: “During the campaign we’ll be highlighting the wide range of free, help and advice available and do everything possible to identify those at risk and take the necessary steps to help them stay safe.”

Anyone who is worried that they may not be able to heat their home properly or is concerned about a family member, friend or neighbour, should call (01429) 874063.