Gosport firefighters give tips on staying safe

TESTING Steven Jones, left, tests electric blanket safety with Jill Whitcher of the Gosport Old Persons' Forum, and watch officer Graham Sedge. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (132879-1)
TESTING Steven Jones, left, tests electric blanket safety with Jill Whitcher of the Gosport Old Persons' Forum, and watch officer Graham Sedge. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132879-1)

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DOZENS of people visited Gosport’s fire station as it hosted an open day giving older people safety advice.

Groups from across the town set up shop at the station in Privett Road.

The day was run by Blue Watch, led by watch manager Graham Sedge.

Firefighters developed the event from its initial plan of just being for electric blanket testing.

Graham said: ‘We thought off the back of that we’d make it larger and speak to people about home fire safety checks.

‘It was the first time we’ve done it.

‘It’s good to talk to people in the community so they see we do other things as well.’

Gosport Older Persons’ Forum, Gosport Voluntary Action, the Blue Lamp Trust and other groups also attended.

Graham said he wants people to sign up for home fire safety checks.

Residents can book in for a firefighter to check their home and plan for any potential hazards – from blind cords, to knowing where your keys are in case of a fire.

Key to the day was a free electric blanket testing station, which saw 40 per cent of blankets brought in fail safety checks.

One resident even brought along a 30-year-old blanket, which failed.

Carol Gosling, 66 of Southsea, took two blankets to be tested for her 94-year-old mother – one of which did not pass.

She said: ‘We usually do it for mum every year.

‘The one that’s failed is not very old.

‘A friend of ours did have a fire from an electric blanket. Fortunately they caught it in time.

‘Mum’s blanket off the bed looked quite good – it is only a few years old.’

Steven Jones was running the testing for Hampshire County Council Trading Standards.

He said: ‘The problem is, the early blankets didn’t have overheat protection.

‘We’re talking about potential house fires.

‘Hampshire is trying its best to get the old blankets out of circulation.’