‘Keep warm this win­ter’ warn­ing made in a bid to pre­vent deaths

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

HOUSE­HOLDS are urged not to turn down their heat­ing over the win­ter pe­riod to save money.

OFTEC, the trade body for oil heat­ing, has ad­vised peo­ple strug­gling to pay fuel bills how to save money with­out turn­ing down the ther­mo­stat as gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics show there are now 4.5 mil­lion peo­ple un­able to af­ford their heat­ing costs.

Sta­tis­tics show a large num­ber of those in fuel poverty live in ru­ral parts of the county and are typ­i­cally older peo­ple liv­ing in poorly in­su­lated houses.

This group is most at risk from the health con­se­quences of liv­ing in a cold home, in­clud­ing breath­ing and heart com­pli­ca­tions.

In 2013/2104 there were 200 ex­cess win­ter deaths in Buck­ing­hamshire – the high­est num­ber of peo­ple dy­ing from the cold in the area in 15 years.

Ad­vice in­cludes keep­ing the tem­per­a­ture of your main room at least 21°C, check­ing your heat­ing timers and turn­ing off ra­di­a­tors in rooms you are not us­ing, en­sur­ing noth­ing is block­ing your ra­di­a­tors such as fur­ni­ture and, for oil house­holds, check­ing you have enough oil in your tank.

OFTEC is also re­mind­ing house­holds of the im­por­tance of hav­ing their boiler ser­viced by a reg­is­tered tech­ni­cian to en­sure ev­ery­thing is work­ing cor­rectly and ef­fi­ciently.

Mal­colm Far­row, from OFTEC, said: “House­holds across Buck­ing­hamshire will be wel­com­ing in the New Year next week, but it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that, for some peo­ple, this fes­tive pe­riod is a very dif­fi­cult time of the year.

"Many home­own­ers will be tempted to turn down their heat­ing to save money, but this can have se­ri­ous health im­pli­ca­tions as the 43,900 win­ter deaths in 2013/14 demon­strates.

“Whilst the 16,000 oil house­holds in Buck­ing­hamshire are ben­e­fit­ing from the low­est heat­ing oil prices in six years, there are still too many peo­ple strug­gling with their fuel costs, par­tic­u­larly those on LPG and elec­tric­ity who still face very high en­ergy bills.

“In re­sponse, we have pro­duced a free ‘Keep­ing Warm This Win­ter’ book­let giv­ing ad­vice to house­holds on preparing for the cold weather and I would urge peo­ple to fol­low the sim­ple steps we have out­lined to keep warm and healthy over the New Year.”

The ‘Keep­ing Warm This Win­ter’ book­let can be down­loaded for free at www.oil­save.org.uk.

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