Cleveland Fire Brigade has teamed up with key partner organisations to launch a campaign to help ensure people stay safe and warm in their homes this winter.
Led by the Fire Brigade the other project partners are the Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough Councils, South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group, Middlesbrough Environment City, Public Health and Adult and Children’s Social Care.
Organisations all work together to identify people at risk and give them advice and support, ranging from organising safe, temporary heating to helping people get specialist guidance on managing their fuel bills. Where appropriate, they will arrange free boiler repairs or replacement.
The launch comes as fire brigades across the country together with NHS England, Public Health England, Age UK and the Local Government Association pledge to tackle health and social problems together to try and reduce the number of winter hospital admissions and winter deaths.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the dangers faced by people struggling to keep warm over the winter months and provide emergency assistance and help with longer-term solutions.
Last year’s campaign helped over 700 people and included lending out 449 electric heaters and 109 thermal blankets as well as handing out 60 food parcels.
Phil Lancaster, the Brigade’s Director of Community Protection, said: “Being able to keep warm at home during the winter months can literally be a matter of life and death. Nobody should be in that position and be cold this winter because there is lots of help and support available.
“Stay Safe and Warm is available to anyone who is struggling. It’s free and there’s no means testing, eligibility criteria or age restrictions.
“Anyone who is worried that they might not be able to heat their home properly or is concerned about a family member, friend or neighbour should call the Stay Safe and Warm team straight away – please don’t delay, do it today as it could save someone’s life.”
A typical Stay Safe and Warm referral last year resulted in agencies visiting a Cleveland resident in her own home who had multiple health problems. Her boiler had broken and the elderly lady was unable to fund the repairs.
As a result she was immediately provided with temporary heating and thermal blankets while arrangements were put in place to repair her boiler.
Anne Sykes, Chief Executive of Age UK Teesside, said: “Age UK Teesside is proud to work in partnership with the Fire Brigade once again to inform older people across Teesside on how to stay safe and warm during the winter months.”
The Stay Safe and Warm team can be contacted on 01429 874063. For more information visit www.clevelandfire.gov.uk/warm