Around 15,000 people across South Yorkshire are diagnosed with dementia. The condition is a major factor contributing to accidental house fires and fire-related injuries and deaths.
To tackle the growing problem, a new partnership, The South Yorkshire Dementia Action Alliance, has launched, backed with funds from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority’s Stronger Safer Communities Reserve.
This funding will be used within a ‘Dementia Fire and Home Safety Project’.
The project will link with the fire service to work on a safety campaign specifically targeting those who live with dementia and their carers. There will be a number of informative roadshows across the county.
Coordinators in South Yorkshire’s four districts will promote fire safety to organisations that work with people living with dementia and their carers.
Their role will be to promote the fire service’s home safety check service, in part. Trained fire service staff will visit people’s homes and talk to them about preventing fires, and fit smoke alarms where they are needed.
Along with the high numbers of people already diagnosed with dementia, are thousands more undiagnosed cases.
Officers believe the project will benefit the fire service by providing a vital link with one of its key target groups in terms of vulnerability to fire.
Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “In the last decade, the fire service has helped to make South Yorkshire safer than it has been at any time in its history in terms of house fires and fire related deaths and injuries. But we believe we can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future.
“This project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where we use the coordinated efforts and expertise of those at the frontline of dementia care to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in society.”
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue is a member of the Yorkshire and Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities. Hundreds of its staff have become ‘Dementia Friends’ under a Government backed initiative.
With £149,000 funds, South Yorkshire Dementia Action Alliance can run its project for two years. For more information about the project contact [email protected] For help with fire prevention visit www.syfire.gov.uk