People we support in a supported living service in Hampshire, recently enjoyed an educational visit from the Fire service and Community Police, who gave a ‘Safer Living session’ and shared their work and what they do.
Lorraine, Senior Service Manager, said, “I invited the emergency services to visit, so that people we support would become accustomed to and familiar with them and understand their roles in the community more clearly. Seeing people in uniform does not need to feel intimidating. Today was a great opportunity for people we support as they discovered that our emergency service officers are really very approachable and friendly!”
Plenty of valuable information was shared during the session, which has left everyone feeling empowered to approach and engage with the emergency services in the future and feel more confident about achieving greater independence. The officers presenting, explained which emergency numbers people should call, depending on their particular circumstance and or need. They demonstrated different scenarios and examples of when to call specific numbers e.g., ‘What would you do if you saw a fight in the community, or a dog trapped in a car’? Or even, ‘what if you got stuck in the bath’? Officers shared and described what people should do such cases, including, importantly, where, and how to find help and support.
Delighted with how the event had gone, Lorraine shared, “As a result of the session, people are now aware of exactly when to call the numbers 111 or 999, and what to do in response to certain scenarios. They feel more empowered knowing they could call these numbers themselves – and felt they had some accountability, which has boosted their confidence. People who go out into the community independently, now feel more confident to take action if they witness a reason to call for help. They now know how to call the services, and who can help with any challenging scenarios.”
“People have gained more trust with emergency services, and learned that ‘uniforms’ are nothing to be intimidated by. The officers were so friendly and approachable, and made the experience really fun for people, sharing photos at the end. A lady we support owns a police helmet which she wore during the session! It was engaging, inclusive and a very interactive experience for all.”
At the home, team members do Health & Safety e-learning, and test their fire alarms on a weekly basis. They also have test evacuations every month, and a monthly fire matrix. All new team members run through fire evacuation practise when they start work – so everyone is properly trained and prepared. People who live at the home also get actively involved in Health & Safety – every week they enjoy pressing the fire alarm buttons themselves, to test them. They also go around the home with a team member to check all the doors, and people regularly discuss Health & Safety in their meetings.
Lorraine also described how the team ensures that people ‘stay safe’.
“If people go out into the community, they will usually give us a call to say, ‘I’m OK’ and what time they’ll be back home. One lady sets an alarm on her phone, for a time that she chooses, when she goes out – to remind her when it’s time to return home.
People we support are regularly involved in Health & Safety observation – and when they do their ‘flat cleans’, they make sure to double-check for any loose wires, or slip hazards. We use a ‘house phone’ in case anyone needs to call for help.”
Lorraine added “Every year we attend Open Day visits at our local fire station – which everyone loves! The emergency services sessions are really valued by all of us, and it’s great to see how they help to empower people we support.”
“We’re currently talking to people we support in meetings – to ask what they want from future ‘Safer Living sessions’ with the Fire service and Police. Next time, the services are bringing props and slides for even more engagement – they plan to come every month or two. Subjects that they’ll be covering will include kitchen safety, night-time safety, calling for help, how to treat a burn, electrical safety, BBQ safety and be beach safe, and more. We are all looking forward to it!”