MP Gill Furniss, member for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, is backing a campaign for older constituents to keep safe and warm this winter.
She said that with winter coming and with more than half of all domestic fires arising from electricity – and older people disproportionately affected by them – it is the time of year we particularly need to keep an eye on older friends and relatives.
That is why Gill Furniss is backing Electrical Safety First’s Safer Over 65 campaign. The Charity is working with MPs to encourage constituents in Brightside and Hillsborough to check on the electrical safety of older family members, or neighbours, and has developed a range of tools and guides to help keep them safe in their home.
Gill said: “Many older people worry about winter heating bills, often using portable heaters and electric blankets to cut costs – but these appliances have caused a number of house fires, mainly through misuse.”
She added: “With most older people being owner-occupiers, they tend to live in homes which haven’t had an electrical safety check for many years which often lack important electrical safety features.
“Today, we are sadly also seeing a significant increase in age-related illnesses such as dementia, making electrical safety even more of an imperative.”
She added that most electrical fires are caused by simple mistakes that can easily be avoided. The Electrical Safety First charity’s top tips for using portable heaters safely include placing a heater on a level surface, never leave a heater unattended, never power them from an extension lead and ensure regular inspections. For an app that allows you to do a rapid visual electrical safety check of a home, plus a range of safety guides visit: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/olderpeople website.