As part of national Home Fire Safety Week, a new partnership is being launched between Kent’s fire and health services to ensure the county’s most vulnerable residents are safe and well at home this winter.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is teaming up with Kent County Council to get vital, potentially lifesaving advice to key target groups such as young families, elderly residents and people with disabilities and long-term medical illnesses.
The partnership will see KFRS community safety officers, while carrying out home visits to encourage fire safety measures are in place, will also make sure crucial health advice is passed on – such as eligibility for the free flu vaccine, details of NHS111 and Health Help Now App – to keep people healthy and relieve the burden on doctors’ surgeries and A&E departments over winter months.
KFRS Assistant Director of Service Delivery, Martin Adams said: “Working collaboratively with our health partners means we have an even greater chance of reaching members of the community who need our services the most. Most of us never expect to have a fire in our homes but sadly it can and does happen. We’re asking people to think about those people who might benefit from extra support like their elderly mum, a young parent with a baby or a neighbour with mobility issues. They could be safer after a visit from one of our specially trained advisors.”
Meanwhile, information about KFRS home visits and important fire and road safety measures will be available in KCC’s children centres, libraries and for frontline staff. KCC Director for Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “We welcome this opportunity to share communications channels and offer the very best advice on health and home safety to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The advice is often very simple but can make a lifesaving difference and reduce the demand on our health and emergency services.”
Home Fire Safety Week runs from 28 September to 4 October. The Kent partnership supports national campaigns between the NHS, Public Health England, the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, local authorities and local fire and rescue services.
To find out if you or someone you know is eligible for a free home safety visit, please call KFRS’ Home Safety team 0800 923 7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The national flu vaccine campaign will be launched in October. Children aged from two to four-years-old, alongside people aged 65 or older, those with long term medical conditions and mums-to-be, are among the priority groups to get the vaccine. This year, all children of school years 1 and 2 age are also eligible for the free jab, as are those in long-stay residential care homes and carers.
Maidstone mum Kate Smith said: “Your children are the most precious thing so you do everything you can to keep them safe. When I was pregnant with my daughter Evelyn I had the flu jab as your body is battling all sorts of things and I wanted to keep as healthy as I could but it’s just as important to keep your home safe so I urge others to take the help on offer.”
Greenfields Children’s Centre Early Help Support Worker, Emma Wilson, said: “Children’s centres are a key part of the community and we are here to help however we can to look after families and help them to keep their children safe and healthy. We are a community resource and it’s great to be linking up with other organisations to pass on information and advice to keep them well this winter.”
For more information on the flu vaccine, contact your GP or visit www.kent.gov.uk/winterhealth