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L - Living alone

Analysis of accidental house fires shows that people who live alone are more at risk from fire. This is because there is no one else to raise the alarm or help them escape in the event of a fire. Even infrequent social contact from friends and professionals can help reduce the risk of fire, as visitors may spot early warning signs (such as burn marks from cigarettes) and offer support.

When assessing the needs of an individual living on their own, consider:

  • If the individual has family, friends, carers, regular contact from professionals, and how often do they visit?
  • What support they are given on these visits? Would the visitors notice and respond to any evidence of ‘near misses’?
  • Have smoke alarms been tested recently?
  • Have telephones or lifeline pendants been tested recently to ensure they are still connected and not faulty?


CHARLIE-P scores the individual’s risks based on whether they live alone, and how frequently they have visitors.

Score 1 2 4 8 10
Descriptor Rare Unlikely Possible Likely Almost certain
R Reduced mobility Fully Independent Uses mobility equipment, no additional support is needed Uses mobility equipment but lacks awareness of safety or limitations Mobility equipment and support from another person needed Cannot transfer or mobilise – needs hoist or cared for in bed
  1. 1 - Rare - Lives with others (one family)

    This score is used when the person lives with others who are part of the same family. They are likely to alert each other in the event of a fire.

  2. 2 - Unlikely - Lives alone but fully independent OR lives in HMO

    A higher score is given if a person lives in a home of multiply occupancy (HMO), such as flat shares or ‘student properties.’ This is because:

    • occupiers may not alert each other in the event of a fire, and
    • the actions of each person with poor fire safety awareness place the whole household at risk
  3. 4 - Possible - Lives alone with daily support

    Daily support could include family members or a care package.

  4. 8 - Likely - Lives alone with occasional visitors or social contact

    Occasional contact could include health or social care professionals, friends, or a warden.

  5. 10 - Extremely Likely - Lives alone with no visitors or social contact