BLB volunteers are out across North and North East Lincolnshire carrying out Safe and Well checks on behalf of, and with training and support from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.
Safe and Well checks are organised by Humberside Fire and Rescue Services (HFRS) to visit homes, undertake fire risk assessments and provide smoke alarms and other items identified by the check. Read more about these checks here.
Normally these checks have been carried out by paid fire service staff. However, current financial pressures necessitate that HFRS must evaluate and balance their investment into operational response and public safety activities. Whilst supporting the elderly and vulnerable adults in the community remains a priority the level of support provided is based upon an individual risk assessment, which may not attract a safe and well visit. There is also the potential that at times HFRS resources and staff become focussed on geographical areas of heightened risk.
So this is where Blue Lights Brigade (BLB) and our volunteers come in.
BLB volunteers carry out these Safe and Well visits and checks on behalf of HFRS but to the same level of quality and professionalism. Once volunteers come forward to participate in the Safe and Well programme they receive all the necessary training directly from HFRS. Equipment is provided by HFRS and all visits are coordinated through tablets and technology. All aspects of data protection and safeguarding are taken into account and the whole visit process is a professional service, albeit this time provided by our BLB volunteers.
HFRS provides fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and other identified equipment after the checks, and these visits provide an invaluable community service – both for direct fire prevention but also through other levels of community safety engagement by enabling these visits to homes of potentially more vulnerable or isolated individuals.
How’s it going so far?
BLB volunteers are delivering Safe and Well checks across North and North East Lincolnshire at present. The first team of volunteers (who all come from a relevant background in Police, Fire or emergency support) use one of two BLB/HFRS branded vans to carry out the checks. (The vans are stationed in Grimsby and in Scunthorpe). Visits are well underway already.
The first investment into the programme came from HFRS themselves of course. Big Local North Cleethorpes then invested funds to ensure that the BLB volunteers could directly target visits into the North Cleethorpes area. Subsequently, Big Local Winterton has also invested into the scheme for another 250 visits to take place across the Winterton area.
A second cohort of BLB volunteers has also been trained, but there’s room for more!
Can I get involved?
First get in touch with us to sign up as a Blue Lights Brigade volunteer. Ideally you’ll come from an emergency services or trained background – Police, Fire, Ambulance or Military. You can then decide what sort of volunteering suits you, and Safe and Well checks are just one of those options.
You’ll need to be assessed to check your skills and attitude are right for the role, and after that you’ll need to undergo the training provided by HFRS. (We tend to schedule training in batches as people come forward for practical reasons).
After that it’s just down to logistics – working out how often and where you can carry out checks, how to collect your kit, your tablet with details of visits and a van! How many checks you do and how often is up to you.
So your next step is to get in touch and have a conversation with Steve Jones or Lucy Talbot about Safe and Well.
There is a simple flyer here which you can read or distribute.
Safe and Well in partnership
Clearly Safe and Well checks are a partnership between Humberside Fire and Rescue service and the Blue Lights Brigade programme at VANEL. We’re also grateful for direct financial support from:
Although volunteers deliver the service, it’s not entirely free. The vans need to be run and maintained, other expenses occur, training needs to be provided and the volunteers need to be organised and managed. So we’re grateful to the organisations helping to fund the service.
If you are interested in part-funding, sponsoring or donating to Safe and Well checks (across Humberside) then please contact the Finance Office at VANEL (Richard Wendel-Jones – firstname.lastname@example.org / 01472 361043). Any support is appreciated.