Fire service scheme helps Northamptonshire people stay safe and independent at home

Fire crews joined the Home Safety Team and partner agencies at Moulton Fire Station to mark the launch
Fire crews joined the Home Safety Team and partner agencies at Moulton Fire Station to mark the launch

A pilot scheme providing health and wellbeing advice to help vulnerable and older people stay safe and independent at home is being expanded by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS).

The Safe and Well initiative was developed as a national concept by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, with guidance from Public Health England, to address the link between fire and health and social care factors.

In Northamptonshire, it has been piloted as an expansion of an existing home safety visit scheme, where firefighters visit homes to provide fire safety advice and is primarily aimed at older people, especially those who live alone.

NFRS Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “The link between fire and health and social care factors is well known. Many causes of poor health outcomes are the same as the factors that increase the risk of fire. By tackling these factors NFRS will not only improve public health outcomes but will continue to reduce fire incidents, injuries and deaths amongst those communities who are most at risk.”

Since its roll-out last year, more than 1,000 Safe and Well visits have been carried out. From October, firefighters from Moulton, Rushden and Towcester fire stations will begin making visits in their areas.

Crews will provide residents with fire safety advice on how to prevent falls, keep safe and warm in winter, avoid doorstep crime, distraction burglary and fraud, and stop smoking services.

Through the scheme, NFRS says it aims to enable people to live independently for longer and improve their quality of life.

Lisa Bryan, manager of the NFRS Home Safety Team, said: “While in someone’s home our firefighters will have a unique opportunity to spot other risks and to give snippets of useful advice.

“We don’t claim to be experts or specialists in health advice but something as simple as asking an older person if they have had their medication reviewed lately and prompting them to contact their pharmacy of GP if not, or moving a frayed rug, could help to prevent someone falling in the future.”

The expanded pilot was launched on September 27 with community events at Moulton and Rushden fire stations with a wider roll-out expected in 2018.