Feb 26 2014

Tea Lights and TVs – A Risk to Vulnerable People

harrow_council_logoVULNERABLE people in Harrow are having their homes kitted out with the latest sprinkler system as part of an innovative new partnership* between Harrow Council and London Fire Brigade.

The first sprinkler – a £2,300 Plumis system – has just been installed at the flat of a resident living in the Watkins House sheltered block. Another six systems are being considered for use where there is a risk that has been identified by the fire brigade and Harrow Council..

The system works by detecting a temperature rise. It then sprays a fine mist of water throughout the property, dousing the blaze but without causing flooding to properties below.
Harrow Council has referred the details of 60 vulnerable people potentially at risk of causing a fire in their homes to the borough’s Fire Brigade.

On referral, all residents at risk are seen within 48 hours. While some may be recommended for a sprinkler system, others may receive smoke alarms and fire-resistant bed clothes – for example where they are known to smoke in bed – and general safety advice.

Richard Claydon, London Fire Brigade commander for Harrow, said: “We make a point of seeing at-risk residents quickly to ensure they stay safe. This isn’t about dictating to people about their lifestyles, but just ensuring they cut down on fire risks.

“Harrow is one of the first boroughs in North London to begin kitting homes out with this sprinkler system. We have been very impressed with it in trials; is It is like having a fire fighter in your home.”

One safety issue that has arisen around Harrow is the use of tea light candles, either for decoration or in a religious setting.

Commander Claydon added: “We have seen tea lights placed on unprotected surfaces around shrines, on top of televisions or on plastic bathtub surrounds. People forget that tea lights have a metal base and fitting spike that heats up and can burn through what’s below.”

Cllr Susan Hall, leader of Harrow Council, said: “We are committed to making Harrow safer so were happy to financially underwrite this programme. We have seen all too many examples of where a small flat or house fire proves to be fatal, so I am very pleased we are offering extra help to those most at risk in Harrow.”

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