Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has teamed up with local councils and Citizens’ Advice to create a new method of getting help and support to vulnerable people.
Firefighters already visit more than 3,500 homes each year to conduct fire safety checks and to give advice to people identified as vulnerable, including the elderly, disabled and people living alone. If firefighters feel that someone needed additional help they contact the local authority on an informal basis and pass on their concerns.
That informal arrangement has now been swept away and replaced with a new system called “Safe & Well,” that aims to ensure that vulnerable people get the help and support they need.
“Our firefighters often pick up on things that need to be brought to the attention of other agencies and until now they would pass on their concerns informally because there were no formal pathways or procedures. That mean’t that people who really needed help could fall through the net” said Shropshire FRS’s Group Manager (Prevention), Guy Williams
At the heart of the new Safe & Well system, launched on Monday (July 3), is a simple form that the firefighter fills in with the householder.
The form asks questions about the top four key issues identified by Public Health England: lifestyle, warmth, social isolation and slips, trips and falls. If a householder answers “Yes” to any question and agrees to a referral, it will trigger an automatic email from the fire service to the appropriate organisation and the householder will be contacted by that organisation within 28 days.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is collaborating with Shropshire Council to deliver the Safe & Well system across the county and with Telford & Wrekin Council and Citizen’s Advice in Telford.
“This is a big step forward and will help the relevant bodies to intervene much earlier with help and support for vulnerable people,” Guy Williams added.
A liveried Safe & Well outreach vehicle will visit fire station open days and other events through the Summer to promote the new scheme.