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Angela Rippon backs KFRS’s dementia pledge

12 September 2012

Kent Fire and Rescue Fire Service (KFRS) has joined others around the UK to sign up to a pledge to improve the safety of people with dementia.

The initiative is part of the Prime Minister's challenge to help build dementia friendly communities. Steve Griffiths, KFRS Services Director of Service Delivery is the national fire and rescue representative on the group, which is chaired by Angela Rippon.

Angela Rippon OBE, Alzheimer's Society Ambassador and co-chair of the PM's challenge group, said: "We are delighted that fire and rescue services such as Kent have agreed to be part of this important initiative. There are about 800,000 people in the UK with dementia and with greater awareness we can all help ensure they can live a safe and happy life. Fire and Rescue services already make a huge difference by providing practical safety advice to people with dementia and their carers.

“By signing this pledge KFRS is taking a further step towards providing peace of mind for carers, improving the safety of people with dementia and helping them stay secure and independent in their own homes for as long as possible."

The pledge includes helping to ensure families and carers are aware of fire risks, raising awareness of free home safety visits and advice and encouraging other local organisations to become involved in building dementia friendly communities.

Ann Millington, Chief Executive of KFRS said: "The effects of fire can be devastating for families, but with advice and support we can help people make small changes that make a big difference to their safety. Here at Kent Fire and Rescue Service we are committed to ensuring that vulnerable people, including those with dementia, can stay safe and independent in their own homes.

“Fire and rescue services around the county are already doing excellent work in their local communities, and we are all keen to work closely with colleagues in other sectors to identify those who need our help. The PM's dementia challenge is a great opportunity to work towards creating safer communities for those with dementia."

KFRS’s vulnerable person’s team works with around 100 vulnerable people every month, including helping people with dementia stay safe and independent in their own homes. The service is free and the specially trained team will visit, assess what is needed and offer essential advice to the person and their carers. That could include anything from cooker shut offs when someone is getting forgetful about turning off the hob, to fire proof blankets or lockable electric sockets.

ENDS

Note to editors

Fire statistics

Specific figures aren't available for fires affecting people with dementia, however nationally in 2010/11:

  1. There were 306 deaths in the home
  2. People over 60 are at four times more likely to die in a fire than those under 30. This rises to ten times more likely for over 80s
  3. Research shows that impairment, disability and dementia are a substantial factor in increasing someone's risk of injury or death from fire in the home.
  4. More than half of the 38,500 fires in UK homes are caused when cooking and 4100 people were injured as a result

The Pledge

Fire and rescue services across the UK are signing up to a pledge to help people with dementia live safely and independently for as long as possible by:

  • Helping to ensure that families and carers are aware of the fire risks associated with the care and protection of people with dementia in their homes.
  • Raising awareness of home safety visits and other preventative measures available to help reduce the risk of fires and accidents in the homes of people with dementia.
  • Promoting the education and information resources available to those caring for people with dementia.
  • Raising awareness of dementia amongst our staff.
  • Promoting the use of simple design measures at the construction stage of building developments, so that people can stay independent and safe in their own homes for as long as possible.
  • Promoting the use of assistive technology that can enable people to stay independent and safe in their own homes for as long as possible.
  • Taking an active role in encouraging partners and local groups to create dementia-friendly communities

Background on PM's dementia challenge

Dementia challenge website http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk

Information on dementia

There are about 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. Dementia mainly affects people over the age of 65 and the likelihood increases with age.

However, it can affect younger people: there are over 17,000 people in the UK under the age of 65 who have dementia.

Dementia can affect men and women. The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse. In the later stages of dementia, the person affected will have problems carrying out everyday tasks and will become increasingly dependent on other people.

Alzheimer's Society website www.alzheimers.org.uk

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