Props help educate older people on the dangers which lurk in the home

Lawnmowers and television sets are just some of the props being used to educate older people and their carers on the dangers of electrical equipment in the home.

In the UK, around 47 per cent of victims of accidental fires are over the age of 60. There are also many fatal accidents caused by electric shocks.

The City of Edinburgh Council in partnership with Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service was recently awarded nearly £5,000 from the Electrical Safety Council to run several educational sessions on the importance of keeping safe in the home and garden.

Fun, interactive sessions will take place and the older people and their carers will see what happens when a television set is left switched on overnight and the importance of looking out for stray electrical cables when cutting the grass.

With the aim of educating on the dangers of electrical equipment, it is hoped that fires and other serious accidents associated with everyday household items can be reduced.

The Council has been running free interactive awareness sessions at the 'Risk Factory' for younger people since 2007.

Inside the building, which looks like a large film set, realistic settings are used to highlight safety messages. Scenarios are set up by a dedicated team of volunteers and sets include a house, road, bus, shops, railway line and a building site to name but a few.

Councillor Paul Edie, Health and Social Care Convenor, said: "These sessions are important, not only do they educate older people on the many possible dangers in the home, they also have a fun, social element to them. These sessions will hopefully inform and educate both older people and carers about the many dangers which lurk in a home and help avoid the tragedy of a fire."

David Lockhart, Community Safety Manager, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "There are simple steps people can take that will significantly reduce the possibility of a fire occurring in the home which is started by electricity. This event will give advice on how to prevent fires being started by electricity or electrical appliances, the importance of having a working smoke alarm and what to do if fire does break out."

Lorraine Carney, Head of Campaigns at the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) said: "Our primary objective is to help people stay safe around electricity. We are particularly keen to support vulnerable people, such as the elderly, so we are delighted to work with the Risk Factory to support their interactive awareness sessions. According to government statistics, almost half of all accidental fires in UK homes - that's over 20,000 each year - are caused by electricity, so it vital that people understand how and where electrical dangers may arise in their homes."

Last year, in Edinburgh and the Lothian's there was 170 accidental fires due to electricity and electrical appliances, 16 older people were injured from these accidents and had to be treated in hospital.

The top three tips that can save someone from a house fire include:

If you have a smoke alarm, remember to test the battery weekly.

Before going to bed ensure that all electrical appliances are switched off.

If it is not designed to be on overnight, check your electric blanket and make sure it is switched off at bedtime.


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