More than 1,200 vulnerable people in Surrey have been handed free smoke alarms in a drive to help keep them safe in their own homes.
The fire detectors have been fitted in homes in under a year as part of a joint initiative between Surrey County Council and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.
Those who qualify for the free alarms include people with mental health problems and learning difficulties. Among the others benefitting are people who have trouble getting around and those who live alone.
All the smoke detectors are linked up to a monitoring centre that is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week and trained operators arrange help if it is needed.
The scheme forms part of a safety programme that also features training for residential care operators and firms providing help in people’s homes.
It runs alongside the county council’s drive to help older people retain their independence for longer through telecare devices, which allow users to call for help in emergencies like a fall, fire or gas leak, and give reminders to do daily tasks such as taking medication.
Last year Surrey announced it was investing £10 million over five years to work with the county’s boroughs and districts on projects that help people stay in their own homes, including telecare.
Surrey County Council’s Assistant Director for District and Borough Partnerships Melanie Bussicott said: “Everyone should benefit from the early warning of smoke alarms but they’re particularly vital for older people and those with mobility and health issues.
“Supporting vulnerable people is at the heart of what the council does and that’s why we’ve fitted more than 1,200 free fire alarms in less than a year. We won’t stop here and will continue providing them with other telecare devices to give people priceless extra years of independence and their families and carers peace of mind.”
Bryn Strudwick, of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, said: “A working smoke alarm gives people vital minutes to escape a fire and it really can mean the difference between life and death.”
To request a free home safety visit call 0800 085 0767 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Surrey Telecare Service visit http://www.surreytelecare.com/, call 0800 195 6035 or text 07976 843825.