Release date: 16 May
On Thursday (May 10) a couple from East Wittering were rescued from a fire in their home after emergency services were alerted to the incident through Chichester Careline, run by Chichester District Council.
Crews from East Wittering and Chichester were called to the property at 11:32am and found smoke issuing on arrival. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the kitchen fire using hose reels and jets.
The fire is believed to be caused by an electrical fault.
Amanda Highfield, daughter of the couple that were rescued, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that people who may not be able to raise the alarm in a fire situation have a careline system installed in their property. Speaking from experience I can honestly say that this piece of equipment is life-saving – without it there is a high probability that the outcome would have been very different.
“Not only would I like to thank the firefighters for their actions that day, but also to the advisors that originally came to fit the careline.”
Cabinet Member for Community Services at Chichester District Council, Eileen Lintill, said: “Having a linked system like this is extremely important and as this case shows, really helps save lives.
“I would also like to recognise the dedicated, professional and quick thinking actions of the operator at Chichester Careline who took the initial call. She contacted West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and then ensured that Amanda’s mum and dad got out of the house as quickly as possible. After liaising with the fire service, she reassured the couple and made sure they were safe. The operator, who is a relatively new member of staff, then contacted Amanda to let her know what had happened. This care and attention to detail was second to none. This was a very involved call and throughout it, the operator remained calm and caring. I’m glad to hear that Amanda’s parents are safe and being looked after, and I would urge residents to find out more about the excellent fire safety services that are available.”
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service offer free Safe and Well Visits where firefighters visit homes by appointment to give safety advice and, where appropriate, fit smoke detectors or other specialist fire detection equipment.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service particularly wants to hear from those who are:
• Are 65 or over and live alone
• Have a physical disability or frailty affecting their ability to either summon help or escape in an emergency
• Use a Community Alarm or Emergency Monitoring service like Chichester Careline or Lifeline
• Have a sensory impairment or difficulty hearing a standard smoke alarm
• Have a cognitive impairment affecting their ability to remember things or retain information, such as dementia
To request a Home Safety Visit call free on 0345 872 9719 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.
Find out more about Chichester Careline at www.chichestercareline.org.uk.