As part of its pledge to help people with dementia live safely and independently for as long as possible, Kent Fire and Rescue (KFRS) continues to raise awareness of dementia. So far, four members of our staff have signed up to volunteer as Dementia Friends Champions and we will be encouraging others to follow. Over 200 members of KFRS have attended face-to-face Dementia Friends Information Sessions. Staff are using these awareness building Information Sessions to help ensure that families and carers are aware of the potential fire risks associated with people living with dementia in their homes. Through the home safety visits we carry out we are able to highlight preventative measures available to help reduce the risk of fires and accidents in the homes of people with dementia.
Our Fire-fighters who have already become Dementia Friends have found it to be a real eye opener. It’s given us a far better understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia, what to look for when attending incidents and how we can help people stay independent and safe in their own homes for as long as possible. Fire crews around the county are signing up to become Dementia Friends. One watch has confirmed that every member will volunteer as Dementia Friends Champions in their effort to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community.
During Dementia Awareness Week (18-24 May) KFRS attended a range of events and support groups to highlight the services our Vulnerable People team are able to provide people in the early stages of dementia to help reduce the risk of fire in the home.
Everyone needs to be aware of fire risks and the help available to them. A person with dementia may get forgetful, leaving burners on after cooking, or letting pans boil over. Phoning the fire service may not be the first thing you think of when you or someone you care for is diagnosed with dementia, but by making a free call to KFRS, we can provide practical advice and fit safety devices, such as smoke alarms and cooker shut off switches to help people stay safe.
Thames-side Green Watch and KFRS’s Vulnerable People Liaison Officer, Rachael Spencer attended a special ‘Dementia Adventure’ event in Gravesend (21 May), designed to encourage the development of networking groups for people living with dementia. To celebrate the launch of three Dementia Friendly Community forums in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley, Rachael delivered Dementia Friends Information Sessions to volunteers at the Thanet Community Support Partnership meeting in Ramsgate (23 May). KFRS hosted two Dementia Friends Information Sessions at Sessions House in Maidstone (21 and 22 May) for Kent County Council staff and members of the public to get a better understanding of the fire risks associated with the care and protection of people with dementia in their communities.