The aftermath of burglary

Figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that there were approximately 686,000 domestic burglaries across England and Wales between October 2015 and September 2016. So how does it feel for those victims in the aftermath of burglary?

Burglary statistics infographic

Burglary statistics infographic

Burglary is one of the most common types of crime, with the charity Victim Support classifying it as a break-in to a building with the intention of stealing, hurting someone or committing unlawful damage. Unfortunately, most of us will experience it at some point in our lives.

It’s not just the financial implications of losing your possessions and repairing a damaged property that affect victims. The aftermath of burglary is so traumatic that it can stay with people for a very long time, with many never feeling fully safe again.

Statistics

Several surveys undertaken by large insurance firms have highlighted the most common side effects that victims suffer following burglaries and break-ins.

  • Research from Allianz Insurance discovered that it took an average of 8 months for those who have been burgled to feel safe again.
  • MoneySupermarket revealed that 1 in 8 never recover emotionally, with 43% saying they felt violated and 44% being scared it would happen again.
  • UIA Insurance found that one third of people whose homes had been burgled had suffered a huge knock to their confidence, with a fifth claiming they found it difficult to be left on their own after a break-in.
  • UIA also revealed that 25% of those burgled actually moved house due to feeling so unsettled.

Emotions

Grieving couple in aftermath of burglary

The emotional effects in the aftermath of burglary can last a lifetime

The most common emotions to feel following such a traumatic event include shock, anger and fear, as well as helplessness and even guilt. These feelings often turn to grief and sadness, with some developing more serious issues such as depression, anxiety attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder and experiencing sleep difficulties.

Complete Peace of Mind

At Smart Home Protection we offer a full home protection system utilising our intelligent technology to ensure your house, your loved ones and your possessions are kept safe from intruders. To find out more about how we can guarantee you a more secure home, visit our website today.

Support for the aftermath of burglary is available from Victim Support’s Supportline on 0808 16 89 111 or online at victimsupport.org.uk.

Snow and ice is hazardous for the elderly

Whether you’re 6 or 60, there is something pretty exciting about waking up to the world being blanketed in a thick layer of powdery snow. However, it’s not all fun and games as the treacherous snow and ice poses a real hazard for people of all ages, and the older you get the harder it is to recover from trips and falls.

Elderly gentleman slips on snow and ice

The elderly are at risk from snow and ice

Every year, thousands of people are injured with figures showing that there were 2,919 admissions to hospital in 2014/2015 due to people falling on snow and ice.*

Of course the consequences of a fall are a lot more serious for the elderly. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) offers some advice on how older people can avoid falls in slippery conditions:

  • Try to minimise the need to go out. Ask friends or neighbours to shop for you or take you to where you need to go
  • If you do decide to go out when there’s snow and ice, take time to think what you can do to reduce the risk of a fall
  • Where possible, plan a safe route from your home to where you are going, so as to avoid slopes, steps and areas that have not been cleared or gritted
  • Don’t take short cuts through areas where the slipping hazards are greater
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to clear a safe path from your front door
  • Wear proper footwear for better traction on slippery surfaces. Consider fitting anti-slip crampons
  • Consider using a stick or better still, a walking pole and take slow, small steps. Try not to hurry and give yourself more time to get from A to B so you do not rush
  • Use rails or other stable objects that you can hold on to
  • If possible, wear extra layers to protect the more vulnerable parts of your body like your head, neck and spine if you do fall
  • Wipe your feet well when entering buildings
  • In public places, always report unsafe conditions so other people do not get hurt

Hypothermia

Cold weather also puts the elderly at particular risk of hypothermia (when the body’s temperature drops below 35 degrees). To avoid this, try to move about at regular intervals, drink plenty of hot drinks and eat regularly. Wearing several layers of thin clothing, rather than one thick layer, can also help to reduce the risk.

Wrapped in blanket

Hypothermia is very risky for the elderly

Help is at hand

An IndePENDANT panic button from Smart Home Protection can help keep the elderly safer in their home. Worn around the wrist or the neck, the button summons immediate assistance should help be needed, and it works within a 250 metre radius**, meaning that a trip or a fall on snow and ice in the garden or near the home can be dealt with quickly and effectively.

* Figures taken from Hospital Episode Statistics for England
** 250 metres in direct line of sight

Socket Overload Calculator

Most of us have extension leads in our home and, especially at Christmas, they are a useful device to help increase the amount of electrical appliances we can have. 

Sparking plug socket

It only takes one spark from an overloaded socket

However, whilst there may be space to plug up to four items in, it is not always safe to do so and it can be a serious fire hazard if you overload the power point with too much voltage.

You can easily avoid overloading sockets with a few easy steps:

• Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13 A, but some are rated at only 10 A or less – the rating should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead. If not, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.

• Use the Socket Overload Calculator below to see if you’re exceeding the maximum load.

The Socket Calculator has been brought to you by Electrical Safety First.
Article source: electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

Christmas tree fires destroy homes

It takes less than a minute for a Christmas tree fire to take hold, spread to surrounding furniture and become completely out of control.

Whilst we hate to dampen the festive mood, it’s worth remembering that during the month of December there are roughly 102 house fires per day, resulting in 20 people per day being killed or injured. Christmas trees themselves are directly responsible for more than 200 domestic fires each and every year, so it’s worth ensuring your tree is put up safely.

With the festive season in full swing most of us have already put up our Christmas tree, or are planning to do so within the next couple of weeks.

At this exciting time of year, it’s easy to forget some of the basics which is why we’ve put in place a Christmas Tree Checklist to help keep you safe.

Christmas Tree Safety Checklist

Christmas tree safety infographic

Make sure your tree is safe with our Christmas Tree Safety Checklist infographic

Watered vs Dry

One of the biggest causes of Christmas tree fires is not faulty lighting, as previously thought, although this does not help… but it is the lack of water in the tree itself. The biggest mistake that owners of real trees make is neglecting to water their real tree, thus reducing the water content of the needles from 100% (difficult to catch fire) to 10% (extremely easy to catch fire).

Take a look at this video to see the difference between these two Christmas tree fires.

 

Monitored Fire Alarm

Fire Guardian – monitored fire alarm

Ensuring you have a proper working fire alarm is also an essential piece of kit for any home, and not just at Christmas time, but all year round. The Fire Guardian monitored alarm is an intelligent fire and smoke detection system for your home. You don’t ever need to worry about hearing a siren as it connects instantly to an alarm receiving centre, meaning you will always get an immediate response and the fire brigade sent out to assist.

Electric blankets cause 5,000 fires a year

As the temperature drops many of us will reach for our trusted electric blanket to ensure we stay toasty warm at night, especially the elderly who are more susceptible to the cold. But electric blanket fires account for more than 5,000 household fires a year, so before you put yours on your bed, take a few moments to check it over thoroughly.

Woman sleeping in bed

If well kept and stored safely, an electric blanket can last for many many years, but warning signs that it may need replacing include:

• Fraying fabric
• Scorch marks
• Exposed elements
• Creasing or folding
• Soiling
• Damp patches
• Tie tapes damaged or missing
• Worn flex
• Loose connections

It is recommended to replace your electric blanket at least every ten years. Never buy a secondhand one, and always look for the British or European standard with a safety certification mark.

Use your electric blanket safely

• Always follow the instructions on your electric blanket.
• Never use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa.
• Keep all blankets flat.
• Tie electric underblankets to the bed or mattress – this stops them slipping and creasing, which could damage them.
• Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed.
• Don’t get blankets wet, and if your blanket does get wet, don’t use it. Never switch it on to dry it.
• Make sure your electric blanket is checked by a competent electrician at least every three years.

If in doubt – throw it out!

Protect your home from fire with a monitored fire alarm.

 

A medical button saves lives

Investing in a medical button is a cost-effective way to protect yourself and the ones you love this winter.

Elderly lady on floor

A medical button can summon assistance in the case of a trip or a fall

 

Trips and falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s, accounting for at least a third of all elderly hospital admissions and costing the NHS more than £2bn a year.

Other worrying facts include:

• Falls significantly impact on long term outcomes, e.g. being a major precipitant of people moving from their own home to long-term nursing or residential care.

• Almost 3,653 people aged 65+ died from having a fall in 2013. This was almost equally divided between men and women, and would equate to ten people every day.

• Around 70,000-75,000 hip fractures occur in the UK each year. These are mainly due to falls.

• A common, but often overlooked, cause of injury, around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year, and about half of these will have more frequent falls.

Winter is a particularly hazardous time for the old and infirm and, with the colder months upon us, it is important to keep a check on the well-being of older friends, neighbours and relatives.

Many trips and falls don’t result in serious injury. However, there’s always a risk that a fall could lead to broken bones, and it can cause the person to lose confidence, become withdrawn and feel as if they’ve lost their independence.

The IndePENDANT alarm is a medical button designed for the elderly to provide assistance and reassurance for anyone who may be vulnerable. It’s small, lightweight and waterproof and it can be worn around the wrist or neck, allowing the wearer to move freely around the house or garden. The system is ideal for the elderly or anyone who wants a panic alarm while maintaining an independent lifestyle.

Take a look at how the IndePENDANT medical button could help you or someone you love.