Firefighters rescue elderly Southwick lady from home

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An elderly lady was rescued by Shoreham firefighters yesterday evening after a fire broke out in the kitchen of her Southwick home. West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service was called to the end of terrace house on Summersdeane at 5.51pm after items left on a cooker are believed to have caught light.

Fortunately the occupier, an 80-year old lady with limited mobility, was protected by a Lifeline System with a specialist ‘Firelink’ smoke alarm. This meant as soon as her smoke detector activated an operator at a 24-hour monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire and could place the 999 call to the Fire Service.

On arrival, firefighters entered the smoke-logged house and immediately lifted the owner out to fresh air where she was given oxygen therapy. She was subsequently taken to hospital by ambulance.

The crew quickly extinguished the fire, which was confined to the kitchen, using breathing apparatus and hose reels.

Incident Commander at the scene Mark Ross said: “This early alert received through the Lifeline system has led to a successful rescue. This really emphasises the value of the telecare-linked smoke alarms. For most people a standard smoke alarm gives them the protection they need, alerting them to a fire and giving them time to leave their home safely.

“However, we know that some people need a little extra assistance, those who have mobility problems or perhaps a disability which means they can’t make such an easy escape. In those cases these specialist smoke detectors offer extra protection. We can fit a linked smoke alarm for those using telecare systems like Lifeline and Careline as part of our free Home Safety Visit service.

“This incident also highlights the importance of keeping your cooker top clear. If there is limited worktop space it can be tempting to leave things on a hob top, but it’s not worth the risk. We’ve attended a number of incidents where someone has either forgotten to turn the hob off or accidentally knocked the dial on. It’s safest to keep your cooking area completely clear and, if you have an electric cooker, switch it off at the wall when you’re not using it.”

To find out if you, or a relative or neighbour, may be eligible for a Home Safety Visit call 0845 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire

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