Over 25,000 people in the UK die each year because they can’t keep warm in their own homes. This is due to either faulty heating or because worries about the cost of fuel force them to turn their heating off or down to unsafe levels or because they use cheaper and less safe forms of heating which can cause fires.
Many of these people are in the most vulnerable groups such as older people, single parents with children, people with disabilities or mental health issues and those with a long-term illness.
The annual ‘Stay Safe and Warm’ campaign will be launched at the One Life Centre in Park Road, Hartlepool, on Monday 7th October at 10am.
Led by Cleveland Fire Brigade, it aims to raise awareness of the dangers faced by people who struggle to keep warm during the cold months and highlight the help and support available to them.
Last year’s campaign helped a total of 619 people – a 50% increase on the year before.
The other partners in the project are Age UK Teesside, North Tees and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trusts, NHS Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust and the Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland Councils.
They work together to identify people who are at risk and give them advice and support. This ranges from organising safe, temporary heating to putting people in touch with specialist guidance on managing their fuel bills.
Where appropriate, they will put people in touch with initiatives which can help provide free boiler repairs or replacement.
As well as the wide range of advice provided, last year’s campaign also saw a total of 437 electric heaters, 86 thermal blankets and 43 electric blankets lent out to those in need.
Phil Lancaster, the Fire Brigade’s Director of Community Protection, said: “Tragically, cold weather kills thousands of people across the UK each year.
“Together with our partners we are committed to doing everything we possibly can to identify those who are at risk and help keep them safe and warm in their own homes.
“There is lots of free, friendly advice and support available and we are urging people to get in touch with us straight away if they are worried that they or someone they know may not be able to heat their home properly or safely. Please don’t delay.”
To talk to a member of the Stay Safe and Warm team, call the Fire Brigade on 01429 874063. For more information visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/warm