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Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) - Epping Forest

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s (ECFRS) mission is to make Essex a safe place to live, work and travel. It serves and engages with the diverse communities across Essex everyday through its protection, prevention, and response activities in the following ways: • Prevention: Helping all its communities, both urban and rural, to stay safe. • Protection: Working closely with developers, building control professionals, building owners, businesses, and planning teams to identify and reduce risk, ensuring that they comply with relevant fire safety legislation. • Response: Ensuring an effective, coordinated response to major emergencies and incidents. The priorities of ECFRS are: • Prevention, protection, and response- Plan and provide effective and efficient prevention, protection, and response activities, so the public continue to have trust and confidence in their Fire and Rescue service. • Collaborate with its partners - Working together with its partners to provide a more efficient and effective service for the public. • Develop and broaden the roles and range of activities undertaken by the Service - To save lives, prevent harm and protect its communities by developing and broadening its roles and partnerships. • Improve safety on our roads - Reduce the personal, social, and economic impact of road traffic incidents. • Promote a positive culture in the workplace - To have a safe and diverse workforce who can be enabled to perform well in a supportive culture, underpinned by excellent training, will ensure its communities get a better service, benefiting from the skills, experiences, and day-to-day knowledge of everybody in the organisation. • Be transparent, open, and accessible - Communities are involved, engaged, and consulted in the services they receive. By being more engaged, connected, and transparent with its communities, it provides better services and helps them to stay safe. • Help the vulnerable to stay safe - ECFRS knows that some people within its community are at greater risk and that targeted advice and support can make a big difference, to help those more vulnerable people to be safer in Essex. • Make best use of our resources - ECFRS will improve the safety of the people of Essex by making best use of its resources and ensuring value for money. The more efficiently it uses the resources it has, the more it can invest in services that have a direct impact on people’s lives. ECFRS provides prevention, protection, and emergency response services from 50 fire stations staffed by wholetime and on-call firefighters across Essex. In addition, it has its main HQ site at Kelvedon, training centre in Witham, workshops in Colchester and hot fire training facilities in Wethersfield (Braintree district).

13 August 2021

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS)can provide a tailored service for people who are living with the effects of dementia and those who care for them. The Safe & Well service offered by ECFRS is focused on providing a person centric experience that focuses on the more vulnerable individuals in their environment, including people who are living with dementia and their carers.

The advice and guidance given is aimed at reducing the risk of an accidental dwelling fire, considering the influence of health, capacity and the environmental barriers that may be experienced by the individual receiving the service. Topics covered in the visit include escape routes, suitable smoke alarm equipment, smoking, cooking safely, crime prevention and fall risks. Also, if required a referral to a partner agency for additional support can be made if identified during the visit. 

Safe and Well visits are delivered by trained officers working within ECFRS’s specialist Home Safety Prevention team. ECFRS will ensure that those delivering the visit are aware of the signs and symptoms of dementia, are able to access dementia awareness sessions and training, and that all Safe and Well packs include information on dementia. ECFRS has recently started appropriate referrals through the Dementia Connect service offered by the Alzheimer’s Society. It is considered that these actions will help ECFRS to identify signs of dementia, enable those whom staff have concerns about to be appropriately assessed, and if diagnosed receive the support of specialised services so that they can live independently in their own homes for longer whilst protecting them from the dangers of fire. 

ECFRS work closely with various partner agencies including Essex Police who regularly send referrals to ECFRS for people who are registered with them under the Herbert Protocol, as well as Local Authorities, Alzheimer’s Society, and dementia support groups including the Pan Essex Dementia Action Alliance (PEDAA); which ECFRS is a key member. PEDAA membership currently stands at around 200 representatives throughout Essex and includes people affected by dementia, Health, social care, emergency services (Police, Fire & Rescue), councils (city, district, and parish), education (schools and further education), the Third Sector, faith and community groups, retailers, residential/nursing homes and the 14 local Essex DAAs. ECFRS are also able to refer to their services and attend community events to give general safety advice. This often develops into one-to-one discussions which usually result in ECFRS being invited to individual homes to provide a Safe and Well visit.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

As with most large organisations, awareness for its staff of the significant issues that dementia is causing society and the projected growth in the number of people affected by dementia is a key challenge for ECFRS.  In addition, getting our partners to understand the role that the ECFRS can play in assisting with initiatives that can promote independent living is also a challenge for us.

ECFRS will also need to continually work with partners to promote the benefits of creating and maintaining Dementia Friendly Communities, to support this development with our own investment into the communities we serve considering our protection, prevention, and response activities being inclusive for those living with dementia and those supporting them.

Assistive technology such as smartphones and Alexa/Google smart devices and making our services accessible for all will play a vital role in increasing the way we communicate and connect effectively for those in the dementia environment. The challenge will be to improvise, adapt and overcome barriers that may be existing and those that emerge. The ethical use of assistive technology and providing a holistic experience, relating to those with dementia and their carers, will be our primary aim.

We believe these actions will enable people living with dementia to continue to live well and safely in their own home, without a heightened risk of fire, whilst balancing this against the cost of providing bespoke services at a time when funding is under scrutiny.

2. Actions

  • Raising awareness of dementia amongst our staff and taking an active role in encouraging everyone in Essex to help create dementia friendly communities

    People with dementia are one of the most marginalised, socially excluded and highly stigmatised groups in society. ECFRS understands that exclusion from communities is all too frequently a consequence of dementia, where the person often experiences reduced ability and opportunity, to be part of social engagement. This can increase vulnerability and invite risk into their environment.

    To help remove that stigma ECFRS will raise awareness of dementia amongst its staff and encourage more to become dementia friends, to provide a greater understanding of the impact dementia can have for a person and their environment.

    ECFRS realises that a dementia  friendly community increases the opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to remain engaged in their chosen activities of life, where they are recognised, considered and where they feel connected, for as long as they wish to.

    Inclusion is important for ECFRS in all that it does, for its workforce and for the diverse public it serves. By displaying and sharing the benefits of inclusion, ECFRS hopes to inspire and encourage individuals, businesses, organisations, and communities to become involved in taking steps to create inclusive and supportive environments.

    This will help make communities a dynamic and inclusive place, particularly for people with dementia, their carers, families, and friends to live and work in, where they feel connected

  • Raising awareness of home safety visits and other prevention activities available to help reduce the risk of fires in the homes of people living with dementia. Also, ensuring that families and carers are aware of the fire risks associated with the care an

    ECFRS is always exploring new opportunities to provide awareness for its home safety visit services and prevention activities, especially for those focused on reducing the risk of fire in the home, in the communities it serves.

    We recognise the importance and benefits of partnership working. We will continue to work with existing partners and actively seek to create new ones in the dementia environment. Partnership working develops opportunities and a good example of that is raising awareness of services and support available to the people of Essex, which benefits all.

    To increase the opportunities of raising awareness of the risks associated for those living with dementia and those who care for them in the home, will be one of the primary aims in our objectives, in the dementia partnership environment.

    Already a member of the Pan Essex dementia action alliance and other alliances across Essex County, we will continue to connect with those existing and emerging alliances, providing opportunities to support those in our communities affected by dementia and those that support them.

    The Home Safety department are developing a person centric package, that supports the home care environment relating to risk in the home, focusing on those that support individuals in their home with care

  • Promoting the educational and information resources available for those caring for people with dementia, advocating the use of assistive technology, that can enable people to stay independent and safe in their own homes for as long as possible

    Everyday ECFRS engages through its protection, prevention, and response services with the people of Essex. Recognising those opportunities, it signposts staff to information on the resources available to vulnerable and high-risk persons. Information to introduce staff to the pathways of support services and educational content, shaped to meet people’s needs in the dementia environment, will become part of that information shared.

    ECFRS recognises that assistive technology is never a replacement for human support and interaction but also understands the benefits of technology. We are aware some may have difficulty embracing assistive technology, that “One size does not fit all”. People have different needs, abilities, preferences, and backgrounds. However, we are also aware technology enables someone to complete their daily tasks, maintain their independence, help manage risks in the home and reduces stress for those that provide care and can provide safer solutions in the home.

    With a raised awareness and person centric approach in our Safe & Well visit service, considering dementia, we recognise these barriers and benefits. We assess each visit to provide a holistic experience, maintaining the ethical use of the assistive technology, to provide solutions in the home reducing risk, if it will be of benefit.

    ECFRS continues to promote existing, and explore new, solutions within assistive technology development. This provides the best outcomes it possibly can, for enabling people to live longer and safer in their homes

  • Continue to encourage all ECFRS staff to become Dementia Friends

    Continue to encourage and recruit new Dementia Friends Champions internally.  Support them in delivering Dementia Friends sessions internally to their colleagues and potentially externally, to our partners and members of the Essex community, should the opportunity arise in our engagement activities.