Arson proof letterboxes fitted in Bexley to protect victims of domestic abuse and hate crime
Arson proof letterboxes are being fitted by firefighters across Bexley borough to help protect victims of domestic abuse and hate crimes.
A Sidcup single-mum had a fireproof letter box installed after her “mentally ill and out of control” son smashed up her house and threatened her.
Trisha, who used a false name to remain anonymous, lives with her two daughters and said the letterbox and smoke alarms made her feel safer.
She said: “My son was mentally ill and out of control; he smashed everything up in my house. He is no longer living with me but was making threats to do it again.
“I’m a single-parent living with my two daughters and I felt so vulnerable. I was living scared in case my son came back and attacked us.
“A referral was made and the London Fire Brigade came to my house and fitted a letterbox and smoke alarms.
“Anyone who is going through what I went through, I’d encourage them to get help. It makes me feel a lot safer having the letter box. It’s such a relief to know help is out there if you need it.”
Arson proof letterbox.
Crews aim to fit special letterboxes, smoke alarms and provide fire safety advice within 24 hours after a referral has been made identifying them at risk of a fire in their home.
Since the scheme was launched in August, Bexley firefighters have been receiving around eight requests for fireproof letter boxes every week from victims of domestic violence and hate crimes.
Funding for the scheme has come from the Brigade’s Community Safety Investment Fund. The fund was set up to help protect vulnerable people and communities across London from the risk of fire .
Borough Commander for Bexley, Graham Coles said: “I kept hearing about domestic abuse and hate crime cases involving arson and realised there was a clear fire risk which we could help prevent.
“We want to give peace of mind to anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence and this project will offer reassurance to anyone put in this frightening situation.
“Domestic violence referrals often have young families so providing fire retardant bedding as well as fire proof letter boxes offers another level of protection and peace of mind.
“By working closely with the London Borough of Bexley and support organisations such as, Bexley Women’s Aid and Victim Support, we can really target those who desperately need arson prevention advice and support.
“Stopping fires before they happen is as important as responding to them when they do occur and this is a practical way to help protect some of Bexley’s most vulnerable residents.”