Your Personal Safety

Falls Prevention

Many people are injured every year by falling in their own homes and the risk increases with age, but fear of falling can also be a major worry for some people.  However, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of falling at home.

Minimise trip hazards

  • Remove rugs or ensure that they have non-slip backs or tape
  • Tape down loose carpet edges where you walk or fit door threshold strips
  • Make sure there are no trailing electric wires or cables where you walk
  • Arrange furniture so that it is not in your way when you walk
  • Keep the areas where you walk, especially stairs, clear of clutter

Lighting

  • Ensure that your home is well lit and that bulbs are working and bright enough
  • Turn lights on as soon as it starts getting dark
  • Have a light which you can turn on when in bed
  • If you use the toilet at night, put on a landing light or have a motion sensative light

Move safely

  • Install handrails in the bathroom, by the toilet, at steps or along hallways
  • Use the handrail when going up or down stairs and consider fitting a second rail
  • Avoid dizziness by standing up slowly if you have been sitting or lying down for some time
  • Take your time - don’t hurry to answer the door or phone, or turn quickly
  • Use a walking aid appropriate to your needs

Clothing

  • Check that your slippers or shoes fit properly
  • Ensure that your nightclothes are away from your feet
  • Wear clothes that are easy to put on and take off.  Sit whilst you dress or undress
  • Use aids that reduce the need to bend, such as a sock aid or long handled shoe horn

Think about storage

  • Keep items, such as pots and pans or clothing, that you use regularly in cupboards or on shelves that are easy to reach without bending or stretching
  • If you have to reach something at a higher level, use a firm stepladder - preferably with a handle - don't stand on a chair

Eyesight

  • Have your eyes tested regularly
  • Remember to wear your glasses
  • If you have two pairs for different activities, remember to change them over when necessary
  • Be aware that vari-focal glasses distort distance

Look after your feet

Keep active 

  • Regular gentle exercise helps with bone and muscle strength and balance, all of which help prevent falls
  • Ask your GP or other health profession that may be supporting you as to whether they would consider referring you to the National Exercise Referral Scheme

Medical health

  • Have your medications checked on a regular basis by either your GP or Pharmacist

Further Information and Support

  • Ageing Well in Wales has a lot of information to help people reduce the risk of falls, including ideas for gentle exercise to improve strength and balance and tips to prevent falling.  Take a look at their Falls Prevention Resource Hub
  • You are able to complete an NHS Community Physiotherapy self-referral to request an assessment of your mobility or discuss any fear of falling that you may have.
  • If you live in your own home or rent privately, contact Care & Repair to request a 'Home Safety Check'
  • Consider getting a Community Alarm

 

ID: 2035, revised 26/02/2019

Doorstep sales and bogus callers

If you receive an uninvited doorstep caller offering goods or services, Trading Standards (Tel: 01437 764551) offer the following advice:

  • Do not let them in
  • Ask them to leave their contact details and details of any offers in writing so you can make further enquiries and consider it
  • Don’t make impulsive decisions or sign anything until you’ve had time to think it over
  • Ask the caller what happens if you change your mind because in most cases the law allows you a 7 day cooling off period to change your mind and cancel the contract. This must be given in writing at the time of the agreement
  • Do not provide personal details on request, especially any financial information

Be suspicious if a doorstep caller:

  • Will not provide any written details
  • Pressurises you to make a decision
  • Claims the offer is only available that day
  • Is unable to call back
  • Makes an offer that sounds too good to be true
  • States you cannot change your mind or cancel the contract


Not all doorstep callers are bogus but beware that bogus callers are initially very believable and polite.

If you are concerned about a doorstep caller who is:

  • still at your home; or
  • due to return e.g. to collect payment; or
  • offering to take you to the bank to withdraw cash

phone the police on 101 and report the matter to Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06, Welsh line 03454 04 05 05. They can also provide advice.

ID: 2037, revised 23/01/2018

Choosing a reliable tradesman

Rather than waiting for someone to knock on your door, it is better to find a reliable trader yourself. Ask friends and relatives if they can recommend a trader. Look for traders that are members of an association such as The Tradesmen Association. They sometimes offer assistance in the event of a dispute.

ID: 2039, revised 23/01/2018

Scams by post and telephone

Always be wary of unsolicited offers and never part with money or give your bank or credit card details to obtain a prize or for an offer that is too good to be true. Don’t be rushed into making an instant decision and don’t ring premium rate numbers (starting 070 or 090) to claim a prize or arrange a parcel delivery.

For further advice or if you are worried that you, or someone close to you, have been a victim of a scam, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline as above.

ID: 2040, revised 23/01/2018

Reducing nuisance junk mail and telephone calls

To reduce the amount of junk mail delivered to you contact the Mailing Preference Service Tel: 0845 703 4599.

To stop unaddressed leaflets being delivered by Royal Mail contact:
Freepost RRBT-ZBXB-TTTS, Royal Mail Door to Door Opt Outs, Kingsmead House, Oxpens Road,Oxford, OX1 1RX or email optout@royalmail.com

To stop unsolicited telesales calls contact the Telephone Preference Service on 0845 070 0707. It may take a while for calls to reduce. If you continue to have a problem, contact OFCOM on 020 7981 3040.

All of these services are free.

ID: 2041, revised 23/01/2018

Community alarms

If you are concerned about getting help in an emergency you may be interested in having a Community Alarm.  A pendant, which your wear around your neck or wrist, is linked to your telephone and is activated if you press it in an emergency.  The monitoring service will answer your call and the operator will decide what action to take (see below for a list of providers).

If you are unable or unwilling to connect to a monitoring service, Home Safety Alarms are available to purchase privately.  These can range from being stand-alone units (for use within or close proximity to the home) to calling a responder over Wi-Fi, mobile or landline services.

Pembrokeshire County Council

If you own your home, are in private rental or a Local Authority tenant, please visit the Pembrokeshire Community Alarm Service for information about how to get a Community Alarm from the Council.

Social Housing Associations

If you are a Social Housing tenant, your landlord should be able to provide and install a Community Alarm at your property and you will need to contact them to discuss your needs.  ateb tenants are able to apply online by visiting their Older Person Service.

National Call Monitoring Services

You can arrange to have a Personal Alarm Monitoring Service fitted yourself and include the following providers:

ID: 2029, revised 20/12/2018

Telecare

Telecare is a wide range of alarms and sensors that enable people to live safely and independently in their own homes.  As well as the pendant alarm there are many others including fall detectors, bed sensors and smoke detectors. The equipment is connected to a community alarm response centre which will contact you and get in touch with the appropriate person or service. Telecare is only available through referral from a Health professional.

Tel:  Pembrokeshire County Council on 01437 764551

ID: 2031, revised 23/01/2018

Equipment to make your home safer

This section aims to provide information about equipment that can help you remain safe in your own home. 

Carbon Monoxide

CO is produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.  

Modern CO alarms are similar in design to smoke alarms (which do not detect CO) and can be purchased from around £15 at many major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets.

If a person living at home is unable to react to a CO monitor alarm, smart CO alarms can send an alert to anyone away from the home and are available to purchase privately, or alarms linked to a monitoring service can be provided by the Pembrokeshire Community Alarm Service following an assessment of need.

More advice about CO can be found at Gas Safe Register and you can also request a free Home Fire Safety Check from the Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service.

Fire Safety

The Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service offer a free Home Fire Safety Check to those living in their own or privately rented homes in order to reduce the risk of fire and to be aware of any vulnerable people in the home.  They are able to fit free stand-alone equipment such as smoke alarms and heat sensors or, for the hard of hearing, vibrating pillows.  They work closely with the Pembrokeshire Community Alarm Service to fit equipment linked to a monitoring service if a person is unable to react to an emergency situation.

Smart smoke detectors are available to purchase privately and can send an alert to anyone away from the home - being especially helpful for a person who may not be able to react to an emergency within the home.

Gas Safety

Cookers

Safety in the kitchen is a common concern, especially for those living by themselves and/or who have a cognitive impairment.  You may wish to consider investing in a modern gas cooker with an integrated Flame Supervision Device which will check to ensure there is a flame at any burner in operation. If for any reason the flame is extinguished, the device automatically shuts off the supply of gas to the affected burner, preventing an accumulation of gas.

Locking Cooker Valves

Suitable for people who can no longer operate their gas cooker safely, such as people living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia who may be at risk of harming themselves and their home by leaving gas unignited or forgetting to turn the hob off, Locking Cooker Valves allow the cooker to be used under supervision, and locked in the off position when the key holder leaves the house or room, while their family or carer will have peace of mind that they will not come to harm when they are alone.  These valves are currently being supplied to Wales & West Utilities Priority Customers free of charge.

Gas Detectors

Household Gas Detectors are widely available on the market and offer an economical way of raising an alarm (without the need to have a gas shut-off valve) in the event an appliance is leaking gas.

Gas Shut Off Valves

The risk of forgetting to light a gas ring or a gas fire increases when people experience difficulties with their memory. Gas Shut Off Valves physically cut the gas supply when triggered by a gas detector sensor connected to a telecare control box. A key operated switch on the control box is used to switch the gas supply back on when the reason for the leak has been investigated. These shut off valves would be fitted and reset only by registered Gas Safe fitters and are not provided by Pembrokeshire County Council.

Electric Blankets

Damaged or faulty electric blankets cause around 5000 fires a year in the UK. The Mid and West Wales Fire & Rescue Service can carry out a free Home Fire safety check of electric blankets.

For more information about electric blanket safety please refer to advice provided by Electrical Safety First.

 

ID: 2033, revised 18/01/2019