Firefighters asked to look out for signs of dementia

Firefighters in Lancashire will be at the fore of a new pilot that will see them inspecting homes for frayed carpets, trailing wires, and other hazards, it can be revealed.

Tuesday, 27th September 2016, 10:11 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 1:58 pm
Home check-ups: Firefighters remit in checking alarms is being extended

The brigade’s free Home Fire Safety Check service is set to be replaced with new ‘Prevention and Wellbeing Visits’ that will focus on six key areas as well as fire prevention.

Crews will also look out for signs of loneliness, dementia, diabetes, lax home security, risk of falling, and homes that are not prepared for winter.

The project is still in its development stage, The Evening Post understands, with staff set to undergo specialist training before the trial gets underway before the end of the year.

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Firefighters will not be working in health or social worker roles, and will not be able to make medical diagnoses, it is understood, but they will be able to make referrals to charities such as Age UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The service’s ultimate aim is to reduce health inequalities in the town, and to reduce the risk of both fires, and poor outcomes in the event of one breaking out.

The fire service believes it can help care for the most vulnerable at a time when other bodies are having their budgets slashed by Whitehall.

Details are still being ironed out and are subject to change, but it is understood one watch from across Lancashire County Council’s area will launch the pilot, as will one each from Blackburn and the Fylde coast.

Results will be looked at in the spring, before a decision is made on whether to roll the scheme out further.

Ian McGill, North West Fire Brigades’ Union chairman, said he was ‘not in a position at the moment to make comment on the pilot as the service hasn’t yet formally provided detailed information to us’.