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Escape Routes

Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service warning to get out, Stay out and Call 999

As summer approaches, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills  campaign, is asking people to make sure their family, guests and loved ones know how to get out, stay out, and call 999 in the event of a fire.

Smoke alarms can give people the warning they need to get out of their home in a fire, but a blocked exit, locked door or unfamiliar surroundings can often shave vital seconds from their escape time, exposing them to the fatal dangers of fire and toxic smoke.

Some simple steps and a clear escape plan in the event of a fire will help ensure that everyone can get out, stay out and call 999:

  • Fit at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test them regularly. Working smoke alarm can buy you valuable time in a fire
  • Prepare and practise a plan of action to help you act quickly if there’s a fire in your home.
  • Keep your escape route clear to ensure a speedy exit
  • Make sure everyone knows where the door and window keys are kept.

With Child Safety Week (1-7 June) and Carers Week (8-14 June) both fast approaching, The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is also reminding people of the vital importance of keeping our kids safe and helping those who are less able to help themselves.

If you have a child or someone you care for to think about make sure you:

  • Plan an escape route and think of any difficulties people may have and help they may need getting out, such as a torch to light their way or a stair rail.
  • Consider the best place to go if the worst happens and someone can’t escape, especially if they have trouble moving around or can’t get downstairs on their own.
  • Nominate someone in your home (perhaps a child) to be the ‘Escape champ’ - Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep escape routes clear.

Julian Fountaine, Prevention Manager, said:

“We all love a good get-together when the weather picks up, but if you’re having guests round this summer, there’s no need to leave them in the dark when it comes to safety. Just two to three breaths of toxic smoke could leave you unconscious, so every second counts when escaping a fire and having working smoke alarms and knowing the escape plan in an emergency could make all the difference.

“If you have dependants or someone less able to care for, it could take more time to get out, stay out and call 999. Make sure you’re always prepared, your exits are clear and everyone knows what to do if the worst should happen.”

Child Safety Week (1-7 June)

Beware of Teatime Terrors this Child Safety Week

The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is encouraging local families and child carers to Tackle Teatime Terrors and to stay safe as part of the Child Safety Week 2015, run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust from 1 to 7 June -

Julian Fountaine, Prevention Manager, said: "Half of all accidental fires in the home start in the kitchen - often because of distractions like family or the phone ringing.  Whatever happens elsewhere in the house, always make sure you have one eye on the hob or over.

"Another really vital thing mums and dads can do to keep their family safe is talk to their kids about the importance of fire safety and make sure they know what to do if the worst happens.  Fitting smoke alarms and involving the children in testing it regularly can help keep them fire-aware and - most importantly - provide the vital seconds you need to escape in a fire.  This could develop a life-saving habit for the future."

Katrina Philips, the CEO of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, said, "Preventing deaths and serious injury from accidents lies at the heart of the Child Safety Week.  Families can take simple steps to protect themselves from the devastation caused by fire; testing smoke alarms, putting matches and candles out of reach and keeping escape routes clear all take a few moments.  We are delighted that fire and rescue authorities are supporting the Week and families to make a real difference to protecting children."

Here are the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Services top tips for a safer home:

  • Keep safe in the kitchen - Make sure children know that the kitchen is not a play area - never leave younger children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking and never let them play near the oven and hob.
  • Nominate your child to be the 'Escape Champ' - Regularly role-play escape routes and give children the responsibility to keep routes clear.
  • Get 'key clever' - Encourage your children to check that keys are in the correct place.  Keys for windows and doors should always be kept in an accessible place so you can get out quickly in the even of a fire.
  • Discuss how to call 999 - Make sure children know which number to call in an emergency.  They should also know their address.  You can pin both up by the phone; explain the importance of only calling 999 in a real emergency.
  • Fit and test smoke alarms regularly - A working smoke alarm can give you the vital time you need to escape a house fire.  you should have one on each level of your home and test it weekly.
  • Don't remove the batteries - If your smoke alarm keeps going off accidentally while you are cooking, don't remove the batteries.  Instead move the alarm or change it for one with a silencer button.
  • In the even of a fire 'Get out, Stay out, Call 999!' - Don't delay for valuables, don't investigate or try to tackle the fire.  Use a mobile, a neighbour's phone or a phone box to call 999.  If someone needs to be rescued wait safely outside for the firefighters who have the equipment and training to do it.  Never go back in.

Carers Week (8-14 June)

This Carers Week the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, as part of the Fire Kills campaign, is reaching out to local carers and remind them that help is available to keep them, and the people they care for, safe from fire.

Fire safety is another worry on an ever-growing list for those with the extra responsibility of looking after an elderly relative, sick friend or a disabled family member.

A recent survey showed that more than half of the people who had rested someone else's smoke alarm had done so for an older family member.  But there are many other issues a carer must think about - from the extra time it takes for people with difficulty moving to escape a fire in the home, to the added risks of flammable equipment such as oxygen cylinders.

This week the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service is reminding carers that they're not alone.  Local carers can get help and advice from by contacting our Community Safety Team to hear what help, advice and solutions are available to make their jobs that little bit easier and the homes of those cared for that little bit safer.

Julian Fountaine, Prevention Manager, said "There is lots of help available for carers to make sure that they and their loved ones are protected - be it simple safety advice over the phone or on our website, to a free Home Fire Safety Check or helping to find specialist equipment.

"The simplest thing any carer can do to prevent fire in their home is to make a few easy additions to their normal routine.  Testing your loves one's smoke alarm weekly and planning an escape route could help give them the vital extra seconds they need to get out in a  fire.  Simple steps such as closing doors at night and avoiding overloaded plus sockets will help reduce the risk in their home.

"A hugh variety of specialist safety equipment is also available - vibrating smoke alarms for the hard of hearing, easy-reach smoke alarm testers for those with limited movement and linked alarm systems are just a few options to help you feel safer."

If you take care of a loved one, the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Services' advice could help make your - and their - jobs easier should the worst happen:

  • Make sure the person you care for is registered with your local fire and rescue service if they have sight, hearing, mobility difficulties, or if they use oxygen.  This will mean a fire crew is made aware of your circumstances in the event of an emergency.
  • If you have a text phone or minicom, you can contact the emergency services on 18000.
  • Make sure that the person you care for knows what to do in the event of a fire. 
  • It's a good idea to practise an escape so that you and your loved ones feel confident enough to do it by day or night.

Some simple everyday checks can help prevent a household fire:

  • A working smoke alarm can give your loved ones the extra time they need to escape  a house fire.  Make testing the batteries of their alarms part of your weekly routine.
  • Most house fire happen at night, so make sure your smoke alarm is in a position that will wake the person you care for up; e.g. in the bedroom.
  • If you can, close inside doors at night.  This will help prevent a fire from spreading.
  • If you use oxygen, make sure the equipment is stored safely out of direct sunlight, well ventilated, always dry and away from heat sources.
  • Never have open flames, smoke or use electrical appliances such as hairdryers, whilst using oxygen.

Specialist equipment is available:

  • If you live with the person you care for, consider fitting an intercom which will allow you to alert someone else in the house in an emergency.
  • If you or the person you care for has difficulty hearing you can get specialist smoke alarms which use a strobe light and vibrating pads.
  • Alternatively consider linking the alarm system to your own - this can alert you to any danger.
  • A coloured sticker on the smoke alarm can help people with trouble seeing it to test it, or your local fire and rescue authority might be able to provide a coloured cover.
  • Placing a tactile indicator along your escape route can make it easier for those with sight difficulties to find the exit.
  • East access smoke alarms are available for people who have trouble moving around.  These can be tested from eh wall rather than the ceiling.  The Disabled Living Foundation can provide more information on these products.

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You can also view the 'Don't drink and fry' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here or the 'Hot Date' campaign on Youtube, by clicking here.