The fire service will be delivering falls, crime and healthy ageing advice to older people in the north east area of Barnsley, with a trial programme of new ‘safe and well’ visits.
South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has visited tens of thousands of homes across Barnsley for more than a decade to fit smoke alarms and advise residents on preventing fires.
But now it has teamed up with partners including Barnsley Council, Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group and South Yorkshire Police to deliver enhanced ‘safe and well’ visits to extend the range of advice that’s given to the most vulnerable people.
Community safety staff will deliver the new visits in the Cudworth fire station area during a six month trial, after achieving a qualification in health achievement from the Royal Society of Public Health. The fire station covers the north east of Barnsley, including Brierley, Shafton and Royston.
The new visits will be targeted at people aged 65 or over and will include general health and wellbeing advice, falls risk assessments and crime prevention tips. People will then be referred to other agencies for specialist interventions and advice if needed.
Head of prevention and protection, Steve Helps, said: “Our established programme of home safety visits has contributed to a big drop in fires across South Yorkshire over the last decade. But we believe we can use the contact we have with some of the most vulnerable people in society to achieve far more than simply reducing fires.
“We know that there are huge links between the people who need the help of the health services, and those who are at risk of fire. So strengthening our knowledge and referral mechanisms through collaborative working such as this must surely benefit our public safety objectives, as well as those of partner agencies.”
Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health at Barnsley Council, said: “This pilot will help to reduce and prevent injuries and deaths due to fire, falls, crime and extreme cold weather for our residents in the north east of Barnsley. The Safe and Well Checks are a great example of public agencies working together to deliver better outcomes for local people and a way of making every contact count to keep people healthy and safe, and to ensure those most in need get the help they require.”
Nationally, fire and rescue services, NHS England, Public Health England, the Local Government Association and other partners, including Age UK, have been working together to explore how they can encourage and deliver local action to reduce demand on health and social care systems and improve the quality of life of vulnerable people.
If successful, the trial of safe and well visits in the Cudworth fire station area could be extended to the rest of Barnsley in the future.