News release text
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) firefighters and community safety teams are joining forces with colleagues across the country in the biggest day of engagement with older people ever undertaken by fire and rescue services in the UK.
In Kent and Medway last year, six people over the age of 60 were killed and 51 were injured in fires*. While some people simply received a precautionary check for breathing difficulties and smoke inhalation, others suffered severe injuries including burns.
On Tuesday 1 October, Older People’s Day 2013, KFRS staff will be visiting community groups around the county and raising awareness about its services for older people. This includes the Vulnerable People’s team which works with hundreds of high-risk residents of all ages every month, helping them to stay safe and independent in their own homes.
Stuart Skilton, KFRS Head of Community Safety, said: “Older people are still the most likely residents at risk of being hurt or killed in a fire. We’re responding every day to this issue by working on referrals from our crews and other agencies such as social services, mental health teams, local authorities, housing associations and the police. In 2012, KFRS signed up to a pledge to improve the safety of people with dementia as part of the Prime Minister's challenge to help build dementia friendly communities.
“Our Vulnerable Persons team was set up in 2010 to help to ensure high-risk individuals and families are as safe as possible in their 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.”
KFRS staff will be attending a number of events and exhibitions over the next few days to give out information, including:
· Swallows Leisure Centre, Sittingbourne, from 10am to 1pm (1 Oct)
· International Day of Older People exhibition at the Tonbridge Methodist Church, Higham Lane, from 9am to 12midday (1 Oct).
· Tonbridge and Malling Seniors’ Club, Angel Centre, Tonbridge, from 11am to 2pm (1 Oct)
· Woodville Halls, Gravesend, from 11am to 3pm (2 Oct)
· Whitstable Over 60s Centre, Waterloo Road, Whitstable from 10am to 1pm (5 Oct)
Other fire and rescue services will be marking the day in similar ways, explained Stuart Skilton: “We engage with older people every day to help them remain safe and independent. Older People’s Day 2013 is an opportunity for us to work alongside colleagues elsewhere in the country to highlight the importance of this work. The slogan for this year’s Older People’s Day is ‘full of life’ – as professionals committed to saving lives and helping people remain safe, this is a principle we fully endorse.”
Older People’s Day 2013 is a national event being marked by a range of organisations who want to celebrate the contribution older people make to society and coincides with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons.