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Kent Fire and Rescue Service helping to keep people living with dementia safer

Kent Fire and Rescue Service helping to keep people living with dementia safer

9 May 2016

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) is supporting Dementia Awareness Week from Sunday, 15 to Saturday 21 May, to highlight the safety advice and support available to people living with dementia, their family and carers.

Brian Fuller talked about his journey with dementia and his experience of how KFRS helped provide reassurance for him and his wife. He said: "The home safety visit from KFRS was invaluable and gave us peace of mind. The advisor was very reassuring and knowledgeable and offered lots of help and advice in a supportive way. Knowing that we are as safe as we can be has made a real difference to us."

Latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Society, (a UK charity providing support and research for those affected by dementia), report there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025.*

KFRS’s Community Safety Manager, Charlie Smith, said: "Many people are happier if they can stay living independently in their own homes for as long as possible in a familiar environment. But as the dementia deteriorates they may forget they’ve put the gas on, or left food cooking on the hob. People sometimes revert back and start using appliances inappropriately such as putting electric kettles on gas hobs and this can make them feel anxious, stressed and scared.

"Clutter around the home can also make people feel confused and distracted and make it more difficult to get out in the event of a fire. Our home safety advisors will look at escape routes and other practical adaptations that can be put in place to help make the home environment safer, all of which can help people feel more secure. This includes: stove guards which cut off the power if the device recognises any unsafe or unusual cooking practices, as well as simple stickers to remind people to switch electrical or gas appliances off and to phone 999 in an emergency."

KFRS also has a number of trained Telecare assessors who can recommend equipment that is linked to a 24 hour monitoring centre to detect potential emergencies at home, like a fire. They can also refer people to Age UK, Social Services and Care Navigators.

Charlie added: "Knowing the signs to look out for and where to get help can make a big difference to people living with dementia and those who care for them. If you know someone who might benefit from a free home safety visit, please get in touch on 0800 923 7000 or email our home safety team on home@kent.fire-uk.org  – you may help save their life!"

KFRS staff and firefighters will be supporting Dementia Awareness Week and giving home fire safety advice on:

  • Monday 9 May - the Alzheimer's & Dementia Support Services Monday Club visit to Thames-side Fire Station, Coldharbour Road, Northfleet to find out how KFRS, Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service work together to help people with dementia

  • Wednesday 11 May - Whitstable fire crews attending coffee morning at the Dementia Outreach programme at the Christian Centre, Seasalter

  • Sunday 15 May – 12-6pm  open event at The Old Fire Station, Bank Street, Tonbridge

  • Monday 16 May – 10am Carers Support staff meeting in Deal

  • Monday 16 May - 10am-12 noon, drop in at Swanley fire station and get advice from The Alzheimer & Dementia Support Services Group and firefighters    

  • Tuesday 17 May – 11am Carers First Cake & Coffee Group, Gillingham

  • Tuesday 17 May – 2pm Jasmine Centre Post Diagnostic Group, Dartford

  • Wednesday 18 – 10am-12 noon Memory Café, The Meeting Place, The Orchard Shopping Centre, Dartford

  • Wednesday 18 – 2-4pm Memorbilia Question Time, Bluebell Hill Village Hall (book place in advance)

  • Thursday 19 – 8.45am-1pm Medway Dementia Action Alliance Living Well with Dementia Event, King Charles Hotel, Brompton Road, Gillingham

  • Thursday 19 May – 10.30am Age UK coffee morning at The Fleming Resource Centre, Clarence Row, Gravesend

  • Thursday 19 May – 11am Seekers Trust, West Malling

  • Thursday 19 - 2-4pm Canterbury Dementia Action Alliance stall in Canterbury Town Centre

  • Friday 20 - 10am-3pm Sittingbourne Dementia Friendly Community Smile event, The Forum Shopping Centre, Sittingbourne

  • Friday, 20 – 10.30am-12 noon, Friston House Care Home, Rochester

  • Saturday 21 May – 10.30am-2.30pm Thanet Age UK Dementia Awareness Event at Randolph House, Zion Place, Margate, CT9 1RP

Crews from Dartford and Sevenoaks will also be visiting vulnerable residents in the area throughout the week.

KFRS is also running FREE dementia awareness sessions for hairdressers and barbers who signed up to KFRS’s Haircare Network. Part of the session will give attendees the chance to become a Dementia Friend (an Alzheimer’s Society initiative), which will help them know the signs to look out for, understand what it’s like for some of their clients who live with dementia and the small ways they can help. 

Sessions are taking place on:

  • Thursday 12 May - 6-8pm at Maidstone Fire Station, Loose Road, Maidstone, ME15 9QB

  • Monday 16 May - 1-3pm at Sevenoaks Fire Station, London Road, Sevenoaks, TN13 2HY

  • Tuesday 24 May - 6-8pm at Folkestone Fire Station, Park Farm Road, Folkestone, CT19 5LT

  • Wednesday 25 May - 1-3pm at Rochester Fire Station, Marconi Way, Rochester, ME1 2XQ

Note to editors:

  1. KFRS was the first national lead for fire services around the UK for the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge a few years ago

  2. Since then KFRS has rolled out dementia awareness training to over 500 staff, members of the public and to colleagues in other sectors  and to members of the public.

  3. KFRS has delivered Dementia Friends sessions to Kent Police staff as well as working together to deliver a masterclass with Kent Police. A second event is planned for July

  4. KFRS has set up a Dementia Awareness Working Group which looks at improving our approach to coping with these very specific needs and developed a training package for fire and rescue workers which includes information on how to spot and deal with dementia

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