A winter safety campaign has been launched to help the elderly and vulnerable through the winter.

The campaign, launched by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, has been launched after research has shown that fuel poverty and accidents involving the elderly or isolated were amongst the most common cause of accidental house fire in the county during the winter months.

The service will be sending out information cards with built-in thermometers and encouraging people to book a free home fire safety check whereby operational crews or Community Safety Advisors will share advice on how to keep safe, warm and well in the home, install a smoke alarm if needed and signpost onto other agencies and partners.

Another part of the campaign is an initiative called ‘nosey neighbour', with people being asked to look out for those living alone, the elderly or vulnerable on their street and be ‘nosey’ enough to check they are okay, their house is warm enough and safe and let them know they have someone to speak to should they need help.

Prevention lead for the fire service, Kirsty McCreesh said: “Fuel poverty can affect anyone. There is sometimes a belief that it only affects those on low incomes, but in reality, that’s just not the case.

“Our concern is that some people may turn to alternative methods of staying warm and these may compromise their safety.

“This may be by using portable heaters in different ways, candles, open fires without the correct maintenance or cookers and this can be risky both from a health and wellbeing point of view and fire safety one. We see incidents every year like this and we want to prevent them happening.”

The campaign will be taking place until February to catch residents during the coldest and darkest months, as well as trying to tackle people who are lonely and vulnerable.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service work closely with partners such as Age UK and Alzheimer’s Society as well as local councils to ensure they are all working towards the same goal of keeping people safe.

Kirsty added: "We want people to know that they don’t have to batten down the hatches and live with the cold, we can help by offering fire safety guidance and putting them in touch with the right people to get them the support they need.”