Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Stay Safe Stay Warm campaign provides a free home assessment and if required there is an option to borrow heaters and other equipment such as thermal blankets or flasks.
The Brigade can direct residents to advice on managing fuel bills, signpost to where funding is available and make referrals for free boiler repairs or replacements where necessary.
Carl Boasman, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: “Unfortunately more people may be struggling due to reduced income or loss of jobs during the current pandemic. We are here to support our local communities.
“These are very difficult times for many and we are expecting a bigger demand than usual. But we are ready, willing and able to help as the only fire and rescue service in the country to provide such support. Little or no heating can be a matter of life and death and no one should be in that position.
“It is not just older people who are vulnerable and at risk of cold weather during the winter months. Every year we are alerted to a number of families who simply cannot afford to put their heating on.”
The Stay Safe and Warm campaign is led by Cleveland Fire Brigade and sees many agencies working together to provide advice and support.
Organisations involved include Age UK Teesside, Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar & Cleveland and Middlesbrough Councils, Middlesbrough Environment City, Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND, Warm Homes Healthy People and Middlesbrough Environment City.
The Brigade is also driving a campaign to make those aged over-65 aware of the new generation of gas and electricity smart meters. It is part of the Smart Energy GB in Communities programme to look at the national rollout and how there use can assist in identifying ways in which you may be able to save money. There is no need for meter reading and this in turn will lead to more accurate, timely bills. It also leads to cleaner and greener energy use.
Stay Safe and Warm is a free service to anyone living in Cleveland and struggling to keep warm this winter. The Brigade can also people in touch with other agencies if further support is required.
Last year more than 700 people were supported and more than 500 heaters and other equipment were provided.