Website URL :

Careline smoke detector unit helps to save woman's life


A special smoke detector linked to Chichester District Council's Careline service has helped save an elderly woman's life after a wheat bag caught fire. The lady from Crawley was led to safety by firefighters yesterday, after Chichester Careline alerted them that her home was on fire and filled with acrid smoke.

The lady, in her nineties, had accidentally overheated her wheat bag causing it to ignite inside the microwave.
Fortunately, the lady had received a Home Safety Check and was protected by a Careline System with a specialist 'Firelink' smoke alarm. This meant that an operator at Chichester Careline's 24-hr monitoring centre was automatically alerted to the fire and could place an immediate 999 call to the Fire Service.
A crew from Crawley arrived within four minutes and firefighters were able to bring the lady out to fresh air and safety and ventilate her home using a positive pressure ventilation fan.  
Wheat bags, heated in microwave ovens, are often used as an additional source of warmth and therapeutic pain relief, but if not used correctly, they can pose a real fire hazard.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has released a film highlighting the dangers of overheating wheat bags.  
Incident Commander, Julian Bridgman, from Crawley Fire Station, said: "This incident is a stark reminder of how dangerous these bags can be. All wheat bags bought in shops should have manufacturers' instructions with recommended maximum heating times - it's really important that people read and follow those instructions and don't overheat them.
"Fortunately, the early alert received through the Chichester Careline system has made all the difference. This highlights the value of the Home Fire Safety Checks we carry out. For most people a standard smoke alarm gives them the protection they need, but some residents need a little extra assistance, those who have mobility problems or perhaps a disability which means they can't make such an easy escape. We are continually working with our partner organisations to make sure that we are prioritising those people who would benefit most from our Home Fire Safety Checks so we can fit these specialist alarms where appropriate."
Cllr Eileen Lintill, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Wellbeing at Chichester District Council, said: "We are delighted that the lady is recovering well and that our service has helped to keep her safe.
"Cases such as this demonstrate how important our Careline services are. We have a range of options that can enable vulnerable people to continue living independently and safely in their own home. This also provides reassurance and confidence to both the users of our service, and to their families."
Find out how our Chichester Careline service could help you or a member of your family, by visiting or calling 01243 778688.  If you, or a relative or neighbour, may be eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check call 0800 3286487 or visit