More than half of South Yorkshire fire deaths in over 60s

Forty-two people have died in accidental house fires in the county of South Yorkshire alone over the last eight years.

More than half of those were people aged 60 and over.

Of the last ten fatalities, six involved residents aged 60 or over and two involved people in their 50s.

Statistics also show that several of the victims were living alone and only half had a working smoke alarm installed.

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The figures came from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service last night as it launched a campaign urging people to help protect their older loved ones from the effects and dangers of fire.

The statistics are reflected nationally and demonstrate why South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is focussing its work to prevent fires on those who are most at risk.

It visits 20,000 homes each year to provide fire safety advice and smoke alarms and is working towards targeting these visits at those who are most at risk of fire including over 65s.

Steve Helps, head of prevention and protection, said: “We have known for many years that isolated, older people are significantly more likely to die in house fires.

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“But we also know that some older people can be hard to reach by traditional methods of engaging them around fire safety.

“That’s why we are calling on relatives, friends and neighbours to help us, help them by looking out for some common fire hazards, helping them test their smoke alarms and referring them to us if they need further support.”

Some of the five minute quick tips being handed out as part of the safety campaign include:

Testing smoke alarms as some older people may find it difficult to reach up to their alarms to test them regularly, checking electrics are safe and looking out for frayed wiring or overloaded sockets and making sure escape routes are clear.