Westbank’s Neighbourhood Friends team has helped more than 100 older people to access a free fire home safety check from the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, meaning that they are able to stay safe in their own homes.

The Neighbourhood Friends staff and volunteers have been trained by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to spot potential problems when they are visiting older people in their homes. With consent, referrals are made to the Fire and Rescue Service for a free home safety check, undertaken by a Home Safety Technician.

Simon Young, Watch Manager, Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service commented: Neighbourhood Friends have performed fantastically well as a partner with Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service and I am delighted to say you have now referred 100 vulnerable people for home fire safety visits. We really value your referrals and partnership.

The Home Safety Technicians test any smoke and CO2 detection systems and update them if necessary. They provide fire prevention advice on electrical, cooking, heating and discuss escape plans with the older person in the event of a fire, all of which is a free and much valued service.

The Fire and Rescue Service also provide a rapid response to help make people’s homes safer. A Neighbourhood Friends member of staff visited a man living in a private rented flat in Exmouth. He was suffering from a terminal illness and had very poor mobility. The member of staff noted that there were no detection systems in place and made an urgent referral to the fire service. A Fire Safety Technician responded within 2 hours to install necessary safety equipment.

Lucy de Garis, Head of Volunteering, Westbank commented: Our Neighbourhood Friends service brings us into contact with some of the most vulnerable people living in our communities. This partnership means we are able to ensure that older people who might be particularly at risk from fire are linked in to the fire service and offered the necessary support to make their home environment, and ultimately them, as safe as possible.

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service offer free advice, guidance and home fire safety checks, make the call to 0800 05 02 999.

For more information about Neighbourhood Friends:

Please contact the team on tel: 01392 823690
Email: neighbourhoodfriends@westbankfriends.org