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Everyone should feel safe in their own home. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that your home is as safe as possible:
Electrical appliances around the home can cause accidents through electric shock and around half of all house fires in the UK are caused by electrical equipment. It's important that you understand the risks and get your equipment checked.
How to avoid electrical fires:
Electrical Safety First has more advice on electrical safety (including a useful guide you can download).
If you have a wood or coal burning fire, or gas or oil burning appliances such as a boiler, heater or cooker, you should have a carbon monoxide alarm.
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced when appliances do not burn properly. Even small amounts of carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems or even kill.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to a cold or flu and can include:
A carbon monoxide detector will flash and sound an audible alarm if it detects carbon monoxide. You should install one in every room where there is a gas appliance, and the batteries usually last around five years. Carbon monoxide detectors are similar in design to smoke alarms and can be purchased from as little as £15 at many major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets. When you buy a carbon monoxide detector, make sure it has the Kitemark and European Standard number BS EN 50291.
If you think carbon monoxide is present, call the gas emergency number 0800 111 999
A Gas Safe registered engineer should check your gas appliances every year.
You may be able to receive a free gas safety check from your supplier if you receive means tested benefits and there is anyone in your household who:
If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord will need to arrange an annual gas safety check.
The best way to protect your home and family from fire is with a working smoke alarm. You should make sure that your home has at least one smoke alarm on each floor.
Fire safety advice is available from the Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service. They also have advice on choosing, fitting and testing smoke alarms. They also provide a free Safe and Well home visit.
If you have hearing loss:
If you have sight problems:
If you have mobility problems:
There are ways to prevent trips and falls in the home including:
Hoarding is a behaviour where people accumulate food, clothing or other household items and struggle to discard items. Over time, the inability to throw things away can overrun the pace of collecting. The ongoing build-up of collected items can lead to unsafe and unhealthy living spaces. Hoarding can cause serious sanitary issues that post a variety of health risks including poor air quality, possible pest infestations and mould problems.
Always check the company you ask to take household items away has a waste licence. All businesses and traders who transport waste are legally required to have a waste carrier’s licence. You can check if a waste carrier is registered by looking on the Environment Agency’s public register or by calling 03708 506 506. Call the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Report your concerns anonymously to Crimestoppers online.
Technology might be an ideal solution for you if you're worried about having an accident and not being able to call for help.
Our occupational therapists can carry out an assessment. This will identify the likely risks of falling, how to reduce this, and equipment that can help.
The Dorset Accessible Homes Service can give advice and support as well as providing practical help with home adaptations. This service is available if you live in Dorset (outside of Bournemouth, Christchurch or Poole) and are disabled, or over 50.
We have advice on financial care planning.
Our top ten things to think about will help you to plan your future care, even if you don't need support at the moment.
Safe and Well visits –A Safe & Well visit, which is a completely free service offered by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to help keep our communities safe in their homes. The Safe & Well discussion will cover topics such as:
To request a free Safe & Well telephone appointment, please call 0800 038 2323 or alternatively you can follow the instructions on their website