One quarter of South Yorkshire fires involved older people

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One quarter of all people involved in house fires in South Yorkshire over the last five years were aged 65 or older, according to new figures.

Over the last five years there were 3,187 people involved in house fires in the county, of which 919 - 28 per cent - were pensioners.

The Electrical Safety First charity has released the figures to show that people over 60 are 10 times more likely to die in a fire than somebody aged 17 to 24.

Half of the accidental fire-related deaths in Great Britain last year involved OAPs.

The safety charity is warning of the risk of house fires increasing as the weather turns cooler over autumn and winter, with people more likely to use portable heating appliances.

It is urging residents to be vigilant with older relatives and neighbours.

Phil Buckle, director-general of Electrical Safety First, said: “Half of all accidental electrical fires are caused by misuse, so they are preventable.

“With colder months ahead and a dependency on portable heating devices, we encourage people to check in on their older friends and relatives, and look around for potential safety risks and act to prevent electrical fires and the distress that they can cause.

“People are living healthier and longer lives at home and we do not want them to risk preventable injury or death through electrical accidents.”

Andy Reynolds, lead officer for electrical fire safety for the Chief Fire Officers Association, said: “Electrical accidents can devastate lives and still account for too many accidental fires across the UK.

“I would urge people who are visiting older people to take the time to check sockets aren’t overloaded and to raise any concerns they may have with the householder so we can try to reduce the number of needless fires, while helping to keep people safer in their homes.

“Older people are at a higher risk and a few simple checks by friends and family could help to ensure we see fewer cases like this, which cause high levels of distress for those people involved.

“It could be just taking a few moments to check sockets and wires and cords are in good condition, while pointing out any issues to householders so together you can get any issues rectified before it becomes a problem.”

Visit www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/agesafe