In Northern Ireland, 1500 people died as a result of accidents in the home between 2001 – 2013, representing a quarter of all deaths. Falls are one of the major causes, accounting for just under half of the fatalities (480). On average 17,000 people are admitted to our hospitals following a home accident and countless more attend A&E Departments and GP practices.

Anyone aged over 65 can get a free Home Safety Check provided by Home Safety Officers from local councils. The checks only take around 60 minutes and offers suggestions and advice on all aspects of home safety

Here are some examples of topics covered;

  • Falls in the home
  • Poisoning
  • Burns or scalds
  • Fire safety
  • Choking or ingestion
  • Home heating
  • Carbon monoxide

Where necessary and subject to certain criteria, free accident prevention equipment may be made available to you. Some examples of equipment are;

  • Helping hand
  • Touch lamp
  • Low energy light bulbs
  • Jar and bottle openers
  • Plug mates
  • Shoe horn
  • Sock on
  • Magnifier

The Home Safety Officer can also make onward referrals to additional agencies with your consent. Examples of these are NI Fire & Rescue Service (fitting of smoke alarms), NIHE (housing issues/repairs), Trust Occupational Therapy Dept (falls risk), Council Community Safety (fear of crime) and Affordable Warmth Scheme (heating and insulation).

Under the Age Friendly Belfast scheme, Belfast City council also offer a repair scheme if the safety check highlights repairs needing done are relating to potential slips, trips or falls. This is delivered by Bryson Energy staff and nominal fees apply. Those who receive benefits will be charged £5 per hour to carry out repairs. Those who do not receive benefits will be charged £15 per hour. All materials must be supplied by the home owner. This scheme is only available to residence living in the Belfast city council area.  

Some examples of repairs are;

  • Fixing loose floor boards
  • Fitting curtain poles
  • Clearing paths
  • Fitting door chains
  • Changing light bulbs
  • Installing handrails
  • Fixing doors
  • Installing carbon monoxide alarms

For more information on home safety visit please select your relevant council via email or telephone.

  • Belfast City Council belfastcity.gov.uk/homesafety. Telephone 028 9027 0428. To make a referral you can free phone 0800 14 22 865. Email: handyman@brysonenergy.org

Dementia

For those who have a family member living with dementia, a room-by-room inspection will identify potential risks. Advice will then be given to make the home safer. Heating and home energy efficiency advice can also be given. As dementia progresses, householders can also get a home assessment from occupational therapists working in Health and Social Care Trusts to make sure all practical support is provided.

Have you availed of this service? Was it beneficial?  Start the conversation.