A FIRE safety campaign encouraging people to check on those over 60 has started after a spate of recent fire deaths involving elderly people.

The ‘Find the Time’ campaign sees South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue encouraging people to check on their older relatives and friends, and a checklist has been produced to see whether they would benefit from a home safety check by local firefighters.

And the campaign has this week seen a huge billboard driven around Barnsley’s streets asking - when did you last find time for the older people in your life?

“The motivation behind this campaign is really simple - in the last six weeks we’ve had a number of fire deaths that have involved people over 60 years old,” said area manager Steve Helps, head of the joint police and fire community safety department.

“On their own these incidents are really tragic and when put alongside figures from our recent history we can see, quite clearly, that as people get older their fire risk increases.”

More than half of all fatal accidental house fires in South Yorkshire since 2013 have involved people over 60 years old.

“This is due to a range of factors - be it living alone, having limited mobility or a hearing impairment or taking medication that causes drowsiness that can make older people more likely to have a fire and less able to escape,” said Steve.

“Fortunately there are things that we can all do to help. We’ve published some advice on simple things that people can do themselves to help make their loved ones safer. Then, if people still feel like they would benefit from a home safety check, the form on our website only takes a matter of minutes to complete.

“We can only help the people we know about and therefore rely on family and friends to get in touch with us. We know everyone is really busy but a quick visit makes a huge difference.”

For more information visit www.syfire.gov.uk/findthetime.