Firefighters spent Valentine’s Day in the Holbrook area of Horsham offering free home safety advice and support for those in their later years or living alone.
They were able to offer local residents home safety guidance, as well as providing advice on how to reduce the impact of social isolation and loneliness.
Members of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were joined by Age UK, Horsham District Council’s Community Link and Horsham Wellbeing teams, and West Sussex County Council’s Community Safety & Wellbeing team.
Prior to the event 300 flyers were delivered to local residents with information on home safety visits, social isolation and Age UK’s help at home.
On the day, the event reached more than 100 local residents and information about services, activities and other sources of support in the local area was offered to all. Around 30 of the people that visited the event mentioned they wouldn’t have chatted to anyone else that day.
WSFRS conducted six home safety visits and fitted smoke alarms to nine homes on the day, all as a direct result of discussions at the event that highlighted potential fire safety concerns. In addition, seven referrals were taken for future home safety visits.
Firefighter Shaun Challis from WSFRS’s Crewing Optimisation Group, who helped organise the event, said: “As a fire service we have a duty to protect our communities and do all that we can to prevent incidents from happening in the first place. But many of the most vulnerable members of society are often the hardest to reach, so our event took our message directly to them – outside a local parade of shops.
“This gave us the opportunity to talk to many residents, and identify a number of fire safety and social isolation concerns. On visiting one gentleman’s house to install vital smoke alarms, he mentioned his elderly neighbour may also be in need. As a result we took the time to visit her too. From one simple conversation outside the local shop, we left knowing that two more homes now have working smoke alarms and the residents are that much safer from potential danger.
“A huge thanks must go to all our colleagues from WSFRS Community Fire Safety, Age UK, Horsham District Council and West Sussex County Council for their support and invaluable advice on the day.”