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.
If you receive an uninvited doorstep caller offering goods or services, Trading Standards (Tel: 01437 764551) offer the following advice:
Be suspicious if a doorstep caller:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can arrange to have a Personal Alarm Monitoring Service fitted yourself and include the following providers:
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
This section aims to provide information about equipment that can help you remain safe in your own home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.