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 NFRS’s existing home safety visit scheme, where firefighters visit householders to provide fire safety advice, and is primarily aimed at older people, especially those who live alone.
Helping more people to stay safe
Since its roll-out last year, more than 1,000 Safe and Well visits have been carried out and the pilot is now being expanded. From October, firefighters from Moulton, Rushden and Towcester fire stations will begin making visits in their local area.
Crews will provide residents with fire safety advice as well as information from health and other agencies. Topics include preventing falls, keeping safe and warm in winter, avoiding doorstep crime, distraction burglary and fraud, and stop smoking services.
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.”
Through the scheme NFRS aims to enable people to live independently for longer and improve their quality of life. It is hoped this in turn may help reduce demand on other public services, especially over the busy winter period.
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 earlier today (Wednesday 27 September) with community events at Moulton and Rushden fire stations. This second phase will help inform and develop plans for a wider roll-out during 2018.
Safe and Well visits can be requested at northantsfire.gov.uk or by calling 01604 797000. Referrals from family members and carers are welcome.