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Keeping elderly safe in the home

PUBLISHED: 21:04 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 20:10 05 July 2010

A PIONEERING pilot scheme in Lowestoft looks set to be rolled out county wide following its successful inception.

Forging links between Normanshurst fire station, One to One Homecare and Suffolk Carers, a trial project has evolved over the past 10 months.

A PIONEERING pilot scheme in Lowestoft looks set to be rolled out county wide following its successful inception.

Forging links between Normanshurst fire station, One to One Homecare and Suffolk Carers, a trial project has evolved over the past 10 months.

In this time, more than 50 vulnerable elderly/disabled adults have received home visits from firefighters in the town, with fire safety checks and smoke detection systems fitted to ensure they remain safe in their homes.

The initiative, which stremmed from a chance meeting over a cup of coffee between Red Watch firefighter Andy Jackson, and Pat Smith, Lowestoft area manager for One to One Homecare, was officially given the seal of approval at the fire station in Normanston Drive in front of carers, councillors, firefighters and district managers.

This will mean that a formal agreement is now in place for One to One Homecare to provide referrals to Suffolk Fire and Rescue service at Normanshurst, to provide home fire safety checks for vulnerable people living under their umbrella of care.

John Tiffen, Waveney district manager assistant divisional fire officer, said: “As part of our community safety targets, we've been trying to reduce fire deaths in the home as statistically the over sixties age group suffer more deaths in the home than any other.”

After working with the agency to design protocols and a support network, and forge further links with the FACT Scheme - Fire and Carers Together - more than 50 homes within the Lowestoft community of people that are cared for by One to One Homecare have been visited.

ADO Tiffen said: “Basically if we get a call out to one of the homes on this network in the future we will know if the person is bed ridden, is situated in an upstairs bedroom, or even if there are oxygen cylinders needed for the occupants' health in the home.

“The importance of this is two-fold as it means we're helping the most vulnerable people in the community and intervening before any incident and my staff will have more of a chance to rescue a person if their details are immediately available on the network.”

And the aim now is to expand the scheme across Waveney.

“The achievements of the last year have been incredibly rewarding, and the important element to all the hard work that has been put in to setting the scheme up is that vulnerable people within Lowestoft are safe and protected from the risks involving fire,” said Ms Smith said.

The aim is for other care agencies to now come on board.

Firefighter Andy Jackson said: “The whole scheme has evolved from someone needing a smoke detector and without everyone's commitment and hard work none of this would be achieved.”

For more information on the scheme, and if you're a care agency in Waveney keen to get involved, telephone Andy Jackson of Phil Cornford at the fire station on 01502 403432.

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