A chance conversation that changed lives

An animal lover with partial hearing loss has thanked the fire service for giving her life saving advice should the worst happen and has called on others in her position to ask for help.

Chloe Hall was chatting to a friend about the work they do in the community to keep people safe and felt like she could benefit from some advice.

The 32-year-old has a medical condition that means she has partial hearing loss and her hearing will continue to worsen, as she gets older.

The conversation quickly turned to Chloe’s concerns about how difficulty with hearing may put both her and or her pets at risk should a fire take place.

Chloe was encouraged by her friend to get in touch with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s (TWFRS) but she initially felt it would be wasting their valuable time and resources.

With her friends’ encouragement, Chloe filled in an online form to get a Safe and Well Check in her home, receiving a call to book this in within a fortnight.

Kate and Sara from the Prevention and Education department at TWFRS organised to visit her home to offer her advice tailored to who lives in the house and its layout.

During the visit, they also installed two additional smoke alarms and a heat sensor in Chloe’s kitchen, explaining they could install sensory smoke alarms as her hearing worsens over time.

Chloe is keen to thank TWFRS for their swift response to her request and encourages anyone worried about fire safety to contact the fire service.

She said, “It was a really nice, easy visit. Both team members were lovely, sharing lots of useful tips I hadn’t even considered – like why I shouldn’t leave my phone on charge overnight and to keep a closer eye on any plugin air fresheners.

“Having pets in my home, I was also curious to know what their recommendations were about how I could get us all out safely if there was an emergency.

“I suffer from a degenerative condition which means I will eventually lose my hearing; I now know I will be able to change over to sensory smoke alarms, which Kate and Sara said they could come fit for me when the time comes for added peace of mind.

“I was surprised the service was free of charge, especially to get smoke alarms fitted but I’m so glad the team could fit me in as I now definitely feel safer in my home.

“I quickly referred my mam via the same online form, filling it in on her behalf to get a Safe and Well Check too as she’s my brother’s carer and has pets to think about.

“I highly recommend other people book a safe and well check, I feel better for it and know many of my friends who live on their own, or people who are living on their own for the first time could pick up some useful tips.”

Louise Coulthard, who leads the Prevention and Education team for the North district, said, “It’s great to hear that Chloe had such a positive experience with members of our team and had used that to encourage others to get in touch.

“We know that many homes in Tyne and Wear don’t have working smoke alarms or don’t have them at all.

“Smoke alarms are the first line of response we have to a fire in the home and they’ve saved countless lives so we want everyone to have them in their homes.

“You can request one for yourself or for a loved one, someone from our team will be in touch with you to get a date for a visit organised.”

TWFRS have a tool on their website that provides home safety advice and allows you request a safe and well check in your home or the home of a loved one if you are worried about them.

Safe and well checks are completely free of charge and can provide you with smoke alarms, additional fire safety resources can be issued if appropriate to make your home safer.

Visit TWFRS’s website for more information.