Fire and Rescue services from across the UK are pledging to improve the lives of people living with Dementia and their carers at a conference held at Staffordshire University.
“By committing ourselves to raising awareness of dementia amongst our staff we aim to help more families and carers understand the potential fire risks in the home."
Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Dartford
Hosted by the University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, the Dementia Conference aims to raise awareness of the role Fire Services can play in both the early detection of dementia and keeping sufferers and their carers safe.
The conference, taking place on the Stafford campus on Friday September 14, has been praised by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Angela Rippon OBE, who represents one of three Dementia Friendly Communities Champion groups initiated by Prime Minister David Cameron under the Dementia Challenge outlined in March.
Angela said: "This conference is an important milestone to raise awareness about dementia and fire safety. My experiences with my mother showed me that small changes can make a huge difference to people’s lives. That is why I am delighted that fire and rescue services are leading the way by initiating a pledge to help build dementia friendly communities.
“This will help provide practical safety advice to help people with dementia stay secure and independent in their own homes for as long as possible, as well as providing peace of mind for their carers."
The Fire and Rescue Service Dementia Pledge is part of collaborative effort being undertaken on behalf of the Chief Fire Officer’s Association by Staffordshire University Centre for Ageing and Mental Health and Kent, Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire and Rescue Services.
Professor Paul Kingston, Director of the Centre for Ageing and Mental Health at Staffordshire University, said: “The conference is chance to explore opportunities to make every contact count.”
“As part of our commitment, the University is working to develop Dementia educational tools and a mobile application which help guide and support Fire and Rescue officers working in the community. The app will help officers make every contact count by providing a guideline on what questions to ask and follow up procedures to take if they are concerned about a person’s welfare.”
“The Fire Services are a beacon of trust within our communities and their preventative work enables them to spot early signs of dementia in people who may be averse to seeking the help of medical professionals.”
As part of the proceedings the Fire and Rescue Services will be asked to sign up to a Dementia Pledge.
This will involve a commitment to provide training for their staff that have roles which bring them into contact with people with Dementia and providing self-help advice.
Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Peter Dartford, said: “As a consequence of an aging society we face a potential increase in the number of people suffering from mental illness and consequently a higher demand on the fire services across the country.”
“By committing ourselves to raising awareness of dementia amongst our staff we aim to help more families and carers understand the potential fire risks in the home, provide advice and equipment to make them safer, and also make people aware of the support available.”
“Not only will this pledge improve the quality of life for sufferers it will also reduce the financial impact on the supporting families and organisations.”
The conference will be held at the TV Centre, Staffordshire University, Beaconside, Stafford and will be attended by Fire Service personnel from Kent, West Midlands and Staffordshire.