Keeping people safe and well
We're among a number of organisations working together to help keep people safe and well in their homes.
The scheme has already helped hundreds of people through a programme of 'Safe and Wellbeing' visits carried by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS).
For more information visit County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service or to book a home fire safe and wellbeing check with CDDFRS call: 0845 223 4221.
Councillors, health providers and charities visited CDDFRS headquarters to sign a framework document setting out the new ways of working together to keep people safe and well.
The document entitled 'Enhancing the prevention role of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service' aims to target lifestyle advice to the most vulnerable.
The prevention programme will focus on the following areas: alcohol, smoking, dementia, social isolation, winter warmth (including fuel poverty and cold related ill health), slips, trips and falls and flu immunisation.
Firefighters have already begun this new aspect of their health intervention role through a programme of 'Safe and Wellbeing' visits, which began in February. Through these visits, which replaced fire service home fire safety checks, CDDFRS has already helped more than 350 people with direct referrals to health and care agencies.
Stuart Errington, chief fire officer for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: "We have always worked closely with health providers, local authorities and charitable organisations but this document represents a commitment to systematically embed health intervention into the role of the fire service.
"As part of our regular community safety work we visit thousands of homes each year. Our firefighters and community safety staff are trusted professionals who help people from all walks of life, regardless of the situations that they find themselves in, which leads to very positive interactions with members of the public. We are building on this trust by offering help in areas beyond fire safety, which includes providing information from our partner agencies and making referrals should people take up the initial offers of support and advice."
Councillor Lucy Hovvels, our cabinet member for adults and health, said: "Reaching out to vulnerable people to ensure they are getting the support and advice they need is at the heart of our priorities.
"As part of their role in advising people on fire safety and prevention, the fire and rescue service has already built up trust within communities and is ideally placed to extend this work to offer advice on other services and sources of support to some of the most vulnerable residents. We are very pleased to be working with the fire and rescue service and with other partners on this important project, which is already proving beneficial to hundreds of residents."
Harriet Gibbon, chief executive of Age UK County Durham said: "Age UK County Durham offers a range of services and activities designed to assist older people to improve their physical and mental wellbeing and capacity to remain living independently in their own homes. We are delighted to be working in partnership with CDDFRS on this initiative which helps identify older people who could benefit from our support".
Andrew Ball, Dementia Action Alliance project manager for the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We are very proud to be working alongside such a well-respected service. We have given the fire and rescue service the knowledge and confidence to identify those who may be living with dementia, and who can then be referred to a qualified Dementia Advisor. The 'Safe and wellbeing' visits are very important in identifying those who may be living with dementia in isolation and without a vital support network."