TeleCare, fire and the risk of injury

I see from the BBC Kent website that a 70 year old woman has been rescued from her sheltered accommodation in Dartford following an accidental fire there last night. Fortunately, she had suffered smoke inhalation and must have been badly shaken, but was otherwise uninjured.

Kent County Council have been pushing to install assistive technologies – TeleCare – across the county. TeleCare is essentially a suite of devices which monitor presence, movement and distress, such as bed sensors, fall detectors, door contacts and so on, linked to a 24 hour monitoring service. I suspect such equipment was not installed in this case, but could have provided valuable early detection.

It reminded me of a case only a year or two ago of an elderly lady with dementia, whose property caught fire. Fortunately the monitoring service actually heard the crackle of the fire through the intercom system in the lady’s hall, and were able to get her out of the building without harm.

I dread to think what the outcome might have been without this equipment in place. Isn’t it time we revisited our legislation to make sprinkler systems mandatory in new build homes, care settings and public buildings? Surely the cost of installation could be outweighed by insurance savings?

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