Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service is preparing to launch a new initiative to help improve the health of potentially vulnerable people.
Safe and Well Visits, which will begin on February 1, build on the service’s successful Home Safety Assessment programme that has helped protect thousands of people throughout Cheshire from the risk of fire in their home.
Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority Cllr Bob Rudd said: “We have a proud tradition of delivering successful safety prevention programmes. Therefore, we are well-placed to extend what we currently offer in order to support our health colleagues and promote further potentially life-saving advice to the people we visit.
“It is often the case that those people who are most at risk from fire are at the same time vulnerable to certain health concerns. This is an extremely exciting programme that I am sure will bring huge benefits to the wellbeing of Cheshire residents.”
Safe and Well Visits will be offered to residents who are aged over 65 or who are referred to the service by partner agencies.
The visits will still incorporate the traditional fire safety information but will also offer additional advice on slips, trips and fall prevention; bowel cancer screening as well as offering additional support to those who wish to stop smoking, taking drugs or reduce their alcohol consumption.
It is expected that over the next year the visits will be extended further to provide extra help to people who have just been discharged from hospital after a fall and to address hypertension and blood pressure concerns.
Director of commissioning operations for NHS England – North (Cheshire and Merseyside) Clare Duggan said: “We are delighted to be working with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service on the delivery of these Safe and Well Visits, which will be an invaluable way of supporting vulnerable people to look after themselves and stay safe and well in their homes. We are one of the very few areas in the country offering this service and are proud to be part of this new, innovative way of working.
“We are particularly pleased to be able to include a focus on slips, trips and falls, which unfortunately are a key factor in many ambulance calls and hospital admissions. As part of the Safe and Well Visits, fire and rescue staff will help the NHS by identifying people who are at risk from falling so that services can give advice and help to prevent such injuries from happening.
“We are also excited about being able to use these visits as an opportunity to talk to people about bowel cancer screening. Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and this will help to communicate the message that bowel cancer screening is important as it can detect bowel cancer at an early stage, even before symptoms appear.
“Like doctors and nurses, fire and rescue staff come into contact with vulnerable people on a daily basis and this is a great way of really making sure that we get the most out of that contact.
“The Safe and Well Visits are a fantastic opportunity and a wonderful example of the great ways in which health and emergency services can work together to help improve the health and wellbeing of the populations we serve.”
Safe and Well Visits will be carried out by fully trained firefighters and prevention staff.
Although these visits will be targeted to those who are most at risk anyone wanting fire safety advice can complete the new on-line home safety assessment.
This will enable them to generate their own personal safety plan.
The link to the site can be accessed at www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/homesafetycheck
Alternatively, you can also download the free ‘Risk Rater’ app.
This is available from both iTunes and Google Play.