‘Memory Diaries’ Initiative Launched By Derbyshire Fire And Rescue

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) is launching a new initiative, with support from local gas network Cadent, that is aimed at helping members of the communities we serve who have Dementia.

As part of the Service’s commitment to the health, wellbeing and safety of its communities, DFRS delivers Safe and Well visits. This service is primarily provided to the more vulnerable groups in the community, were there is a perceived higher risk of fire.

During a Safe and Well visit, either a crew of Firefighters or a Community Safety Officer will provide residents with fire safety advice within their property, along with recommendations specific to that property and the people who live there.

A Safe and Well visit will also provide residents with a fire escape plan to follow as well as identifying any health and care needs that need signposting to local services to help ensure the residents safety and wellbeing.

Often, people who are subject to a Safe and Well visit suffer with memory loss which is a symptom of dementia. This means that sometimes the important fire safety messages and falls prevention information we are trying to deliver can be lost or forgotten once Service personnel have left the property.

This is where the memory diary idea was born. Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Crew Manager, Lee Jones has carried out numerous Safe and Well visits on behalf of DFRS; during a couple of these visits he has been asked by an accompanying relative to write his name, where he was from and the reason for his visit in a rough jotter. This was so the resident effected by Alzheimer’s could look back and remember who has visited them throughout the day and week and why.

Crew Manager Lee Jones said: “Whilst working for DFRS I have spoken to many people affected, either directly or indirectly, by Dementia and it’s clear that the prevention advice that we give can often get forgotten about. This gave me the idea to design a diary type of booklet which not only allowed visitors to fill in their details, but also allowed appointments to be entered. I thought the diary could also be an opportunity to provide vital fire safety and falls prevention information by featuring it on every page.

“So with pencil in hand I worked on numerous different designs and ideas. From there I contacted the DFRS Corporate Communications, Graphics and Prevention & Inclusion departments for assistance in the final design and production and with help from Cadent who are sponsoring the initiative, here it is. I just hope that it can make a difference to the people we help protect.”

Cadent Corporate Social Responsibility Manager Phil Burrows said: “We really value our partnership with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service. This will be the third year that we have worked with them to raise awareness of carbon monoxide safety and locking cooker valves.

“We are delighted to sponsor the diary. As supporters of Alzheimer’s Society, we are very keen to be involved in initiatives that enable people with dementia to live safely and independently in their own homes.

“The diary has been designed to provide vital carbon monoxide safety information, together with weekly fire and falls reminders, alongside the everyday uses of a diary and will hopefully be a valuable resource for customers and their carers within Derbyshire.”

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