St Albans Woman Backs Govt Safety Checks For Elderly

4 February 2015, 07:44

A woman from St Albans is backing plans to get government inspectors in to check on all safety hazards in the homes of the elderly.

Georgina Marsden from Hertfordshire cares for her grandmother, Erica, who has lived alone for many years now, following the death of her husband. She said: “My grandmother is 96 and although I pop round as often as I can, I do feel she’s at risk; and with three children of my own, it can be hard to see her as often as I’d like to. She’s now had two fires – one of which required the fire brigade to be called out – caused by leaving her gas cooker on.

"I also worry about her electric fire, which she uses a lot in the winter, and her oven; they’re both very old now. It would really put me at ease if there was a proper system of safety checks in place. A Health Visitor comes to check your house when you’ve had a baby – similarly, your house should be officially checked when you become more vulnerable in later life.”

Electrical Safety First is calling on central and local Government to: 

  1. Ensure all housing meets the Decent Homes Standard to prevent injuries and fatalities from electrical hazards
  2. Make it mandatory for private landlords to ensure electrical installations are checked every 5 years and ensure tenants are protected so they can report electrical hazards to landlords without fear of eviction
  3. Target more ‘at risk’ homes with free electrical safety checks – for example the homes of older people who have lived in the same property for a long period of time
  4. Work with the voluntary sector to ensure that older people can claim the benefits they are entitled to which can be used to carry out electrical repair work

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, added: The Government has a duty to ensure that no-one is living in unsafe housing, and yet a million over 75s live in housing deemed non-decent by their own standards. A shortage of new builds means that housing stock will continue to age, electrics will continue to deteriorate and vulnerable people will continue to be put at risk.

"Most people want to stay in their home as long as possible, but for this to happen we need central and local governments to act and ensure elderly people can maintain their independence by living in safe and decent houses.”