OLDER people need to learn how to protect themselves and their homes from fires.
That’s the message from Hampshire Fire and Rescue, which has launched a safety campaign aimed at people aged 65 and over.
Firefighters joined forces with community groups including Age Concern Hampshire and Mind to launch the campaign at the Spinnaker Tower yesterday.
Assistant chief officer Neil Odin said two serious house fires in the past week, including one at the home of an 86-year-old disabled woman in Highgate Road, Copnor proved the importance of the safety message.
He said: ‘Sadly, both of those incidents could have been avoided.
‘People over 65 are twice as likely to be injured in a fire and factors including smoking, living alone and mobility, place them at a higher risk.’
The Copnor fire was caused by a heater left on a foam-cushioned chair.
The launch coincided with Older Person’s Day and further fire safety events will run over the next three months.
Hampshire’s Urban Search and Rescue team was at the tower with a fire engine to demonstrate safety procedures.
Marjorie Elgar, 66, who was visiting from the Isle of Sheppey, said she learned a lot about fire safety at the event.
She said: ‘It’s fantastic. Now we know that we have to roll up the electric blanket and not fold it.
‘A lot of people our age aren’t very diligent and they need something like this to remind them.
‘They don’t understand how easily their flat could go up.’
James Errigo, 33, a firefighter from Southsea fire station, said it was the time of year people should keep in mind winter fire dangers.
He said: ‘Test your Christmas lights. Make sure they’re all working properly before you decorate your house and get your electric blanket tested.’