North Wales Fire and Rescue Service becomes first ‘Dementia friendly’ organisation in North WalesPosted
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has become the first organisation in North Wales to receive official recognition as ‘Working to become Dementia Friendly’ as part of a national programme to facilitate the creation of dementia-friendly communities across the UK.
To achieve this recognition, the Service has demonstrated a commitment to working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to help those living with dementia and to ensure staff understand how best to support those suffering from symptoms of the illness.
Stuart Millington, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, explains: “It’s great to see our partnership working with the Alzheimer’s Society being recognised in this way, as we are committed to working with potentially vulnerable residents and the agencies that support them to help protect our communities.
“People with dementia may be at an increased risk of fire due to lack of concentration, short term memory and dexterity issues. Forgetfulness and confusion about how to use equipment can also cause problems, and they may find it more difficult to escape or understand what is happening if a fire occurs.
“Ensuring staff have a good understanding of the problems faced by people with dementia, and having an active referral system in place helps us to take prompt supportive action to make a real difference to the safety of people living with dementia.
'The health, safety and wellbeing of people with dementia is really important to us and we are proud to be working with the Alzheimer’s Society to support people living with dementia and their families.”
The work has been led by Partnerships Manager for Wrexham and Flintshire, Mike White, who has been working with Jo Lane, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Society on building partnerships and providing dementia friends awareness sessions for staff.
Mike said: “As an organisation, we recognise the value of being dementia friendly. With a high proportion of the older population who are most at risk from fire also living with dementia there is a clear need to work more closely with other dementia friendly organisations in the future.
“As an active partnership, we refer individuals who may benefit from the services offered by the other organisation – during a home safety check, should we encounter an individual who could benefit from advice from the Alzheimer’s Society, they would be referred to them. The Alzheimer’s Society can also refer clients who would benefit from a home safety check to us, so as to keep them as safe as possible in their home. Every person is unique and therefore has different needs. Each visit we carry out is specific to that person's needs and wishes.
“A number of our staff have also attend dementia awareness sessions to get a better understanding of dementia and how they can support individuals with the condition. We will be rolling out these awareness sessions to more staff in the upcoming months, and ensuring that consideration for people with dementia is included in all our processes and procedures.”
Jo Lane, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator, Alzheimer’s Society, added: “We’re pleased to confirm that North Wales Fire Service is the first organisation to achieve ‘working to become dementia-friendly’ status in their own right in North Wales.
“This means that North Wales Fire Service has, and will continue to, make changes to ensure that the fire and rescue service in North Wales has a good understanding of what dementia is, how it affects people and how they can support people living with dementia within the community.
“North Wales Fire Service have met the Foundation criteria and have achieved recognition from the Alzheimer’s Society.
“We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future to help support their good work.”