Fire service visits are changing their focus

fire: Area Manager Chris Kirby
fire: Area Manager Chris Kirby

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is changing the way it delivers home visits in a bid to help keep the most vulnerable people in our communities safe.

This week they are launching a four-week public engagement exercise asking for people’s view on the new home visit, 
which will be called ‘Safe and Well’.

For the past two decades WYFRS has delivered Home Fire Safety Checks, with on average around 45,000 home visits carried out each year across the county.

Safe and Well with see the fire service work closely with the health sector. The focus of the visit will remain fire safety, but firefighters will also act as the ‘eyes and ears’ for our partner agencies and will offer basic advice and make a referral where they see another issue that requires addressing.

Safe and Well is a joint enterprise between the Chief Fire Officers Association, Public Health England, NHS England, the Local Government Association and Age UK.

The new style of visit is due to launch this April on a phased basis and is expected to take around two years to fully implement due to a comprehensive training programme for staff.

Area Manager for Fire Safety, Chris Kirby, said: “The new Safe and Well visits have the potential to make a real difference to West Yorkshire’s most vulnerable people.

“The Fire Service is not trying to be medics or social workers but we are highly trained to recognise risks and prevent accidents.

“Experience has taught us that where people are living in circumstances where there is a high risk of fire in the home, often there are other lifestyle traits that affect their overall wellbeing.

“We’d really appreciate the public’s views on our plans for Safe and Well, so please take the time to fill out the questionnaire on our website.”

Other than fire prevention the key topics of Safe and Well are falls prevention, social isolation, winter cold, crime prevention and smoking cessation.

People requesting a Safe and Well visit will be assessed, via a series of questions about their home and lifestyle, and those at higher risk will be prioritised.

Anyone assessed to be low risk, with working smoke alarms and no other vulnerabilities, will be directed to a fire safety education package, either online or via leaflets.

For more information visit www.westyorksfire.gov.uk