Save a life with a simple phone call


(Left to Right) Stuart Hagon, Laura Fewster, Karen Soady, Nicole Mordecai and Chris Morris from TWFRS Fire Control and Prevention and Education teams pictured inside of Service Headquarters in Washington preparing to take people’s Lifesaver calls.

Do you ever sit up at night and worry about the safety and wellbeing of your elderly relatives, parents or a vulnerable member of the family?

Do you feel that their home or its contents could pose a potential fire risk?

Similarly, do you have a neighbour who likes to collect everything and anything, and has stacked from floor to ceiling every copy of the local paper from 1953 to the present day?

If you’re answering yes to any of the above questions then you have the power to become a….Lifesaver!

This week Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is launching its regionwide Lifesaver campaign that is aimed at encouraging the public to reach out and help save someone’s life.

A simple telephone call, email or social media message could be the deciding factor that helps to change a friend or family member’s life forever.

The two-minute act of selflessness could include informing the Fire Service about:

  • An elderly parent, grandparent or relative requiring smoke alarms
  • Your neighbour having an issue with hoarding and requires some safety advice
  • You know a family on your street who has a vulnerable family member in their property and having a ‘fire escape plan’ in place could be a lifesaver
  • You might have an elderly relative who likes to smoke at night in their favourite armchair, and having additional protection in their house could provide essential peace of mind for family

All of the above factors are just four examples of how a simple engagement between you and your local Fire Service could make a real difference and impact on so many other peoples’ lives.

In Numbers:

Over the past four months [between April and August 2022] 1222 referrals have been made to our Prevention and Education team with 717 of them being from members of the public, and the remainder being requests by partnership organisations.

Of those 717 there were 692 requests for smoke alarm related issues and fire safety advice.  For example, residents having insufficient, defective or no smoke alarms in their homes.

The other fire safety advice included topics, such as, cooking, smoking (smoking in bed), immobile occupants, burn marks, previous fires, and near misses. All of these referrals are completed within 10 working days, unless there are issues beyond our control.

Richie Rickaby, Area Manager for Community Safety at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“We live in a world where sometimes fire safety falls into the ‘it won’t happen to me’ category. Which is why campaigns like Lifesaver empowers people to take actions in to their own hands.  Especially if they feel like a loved one, friend or neighbour’s life could be in danger at some point in the near future.

“Our Prevention and Education and Fire Control officers are always on the other end of a telephone or keyboard if a member of the public wishes to request some vital fire safety advice.

“It could be the best decision you ever make by filling in the online form or calling the hotline number as it could ultimately save someone’s life or even your own.”

Picture of a smoke alarm

Don’t just take our word for it: Pauline and Charlie Brown of Washington

Great grandparents Pauline and Charlie Brown of Washington, have nothing but praise for officers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service after a recent Safe and Well visit unearthed some potential life threatening warning signs at their Wearside home.

Pauline, aged 77 and Charlie, aged 90 are North East-born and bred. It was a chance meeting at their regular art class at the Salvation Army centre in Southwick that instigated the need for a safety check of their home.

A TWFRS officer was delivering a presentation in the centre and Charlie asked her a question about smoke alarms as one of theirs was making a strange beeping sound. They were given the 0800 0327777 number to call, and later on that week Pauline picked up the phone and a Safe and Well check was booked in…and the rest as they say is history.

Pauline said: “I think the Safe and Well checks are a brilliant idea. They have definitely helped to put both mine and my husband’s minds at ease knowing that our home is better protected in case of a fire.”

She added: “At our age it’s really important to feel safe in your home.”

Pauline is a former office worker and Charlie worked as a transport manager, both located in Washington. Between them they have three children, six grandchild, and eight great-grand-children.

Their original smoke alarms had been fitted by the Fire Service well over a decade ago and they’d been working ‘champion’ the couple said.  Initially the visit to their home was to check out the smoke alarms but our officers took the opportunity to offer a comprehensive review of the property.

They chatted to Pauline and Charlie about general elements of fire safety including if they’d ever prepared a fire escape plan just in case they needed to quickly exit the house in an emergency.  And the officers also noticed a potential issue with their plug sockets.

Pauline said: “During the home visit they noticed that our plug sockets were overloaded and suggested replacing the multi cubed plugs with safer extension cables. It is things like that you just don’t consider as a potential hazard. They even kindly fitted us some new smoke alarms in the dining and utility rooms.”

“My husband wears hearing aids in both ears so the fire officers did a sound check to ensure the smoke alarms were set to the right levels so he can hear the alert if there was ever a fire in the house.”

Pauline says that she can relate to the Lifesaver campaign as she is often worried about her own relatives.  She said that one of her relatives doesn’t have smoke alarms fitted in his home and over the past few months he’s had a number of near misses.  She can see the advantages of how others can make a real difference in people’s lives by simply picking up the phone.

Pauline concluded: “We thought that we were safe before…but now we feel even safer. They [TWFRS officers] were lovely over the telephone and in person so thumbs up all around.”

If you know someone who is vulnerable and more at risk of suffering an injury in a fire then please give us a call on 0800 0327777 or you can fill in the enquiry form on our website by visiting

Using the same contact methods above you can also get fire safety advice for yourself and your own property.

Members of our Prevention and Education team will be out and about at various events over the coming months including:

Newcastle Mela                                                          28th & 29th August

Southwick Salvation Army event                                 1st September

Marley Park Community Fire Station Open Day           17th September

Help make a real difference and become a lifesaver, today.

“If we don’t know, we can’t help.”