PCC Ron Hogg (second from right), with partners promoting the launch of the Safer Homes action week
A week of action, led by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, to help people feel safer in their homes and communities, began on Monday 23 March.
The Safer Homes week, linked to the project bearing the same name, launched in Stanley with partners Durham Constabulary and Durham County Council.
Each day of the week the focused on a different element of the project as follows:
Monday - fire and crime safety advice, practical help and fitting wheelie bin locks
Tuesday – hoarders and the dangers that they create in their homes
Wednesday - older people and the help that can be given to those who are vulnerable
Thursday – domestic sprinkler systems and the joint initiative with housing providers
Friday – Neighbourhood Watch and the work being done with volunteers
To begin the week on 23 March, officers from the fire service, the police, county council and Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner, were out and about in Stanley from 10am meeting local people, carrying out home assessments and surveys and fitting wheelie bin locks as part of a pilot scheme in the area.
Rob Cherrie, project manager for Safer Homes, said: “This element of the Safer Homes project is very satisfying for all of us involved as the work that we do has an immediate effect in helping people feel more secure. We will be out fitting approved fire and crime safety devices such as smoke detectors and personal safety alarms and where appropriate fire retardant blankets and bedding may be distributed. Often people don’t recognise their own vulnerability; they may live alone, perhaps they are less mobile than they were or suffering from a health problem.
"All of these things can mean that people become unable to check power supplies, smoke alarms, burglar alarms, move rubbish, repair garden fences or locks on their home and that is where all three services working together can help. We will also be fitting locks to wheelie bins, as part of a pilot scheme in East Stanley, to prevent deliberate fires.”
Stanley was chosen as the launch pad for the action week and the wheelie bin lock pilot as the town has been the subject of a spate of deliberate and unexplained fires. During the past year, in Stanley and the Annfield Plain area, there have been 152 secondary fires (classified as small fires); of these 72 have been rubbish fires, including 12 wheelie bins. There have also been 26 primary fires (larger fires such as in homes and cars) and 11 of these were car fires.
Councillor Michele Hodgson, Chair of County Durham and Darlington Fire Authority, said: “The Safer Homes project has already helped more than 400 people across County Durham in just over six months. We hope to reach more of these people at risk by speaking to them, their neighbours, relatives, friends and carers about the free advice and fittings on offer. Stanley is the perfect place to start the ball rolling as despite the fires, which all three agencies are working hard to prevent and tackle there is a strong community spirit where people are keen to help those in need.”
Superintendent Kerrin Smith, of Durham Constabulary Neighbourhoods Command, said: “We are focused on preventing harm being caused within our communities through fires and it is at the heart of our neighbourhood policing approach. The Safer Homes project is something we are very actively involved in and we support it by giving safety equipment to vulnerable residents. Tackling arson is also a key part of the #RESPECT YOUR STREET criminal damage campaign which was launched by the force in the spring of last year.”
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, portfolio holder for safer communities with Durham County Council, said: “Safer Homes Week is a great example of us here at the council, the police and fire service coming together to offer valuable support and advice to people to help them feel more secure in their homes.”
For more information about the Safer Homes project or to request a fire/crime safety assessment, please contact County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service:
Phone - 0191 375 5561 or 0845 223 4221 (calls charged at local rate)
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Information is also available via the website: www.ddfire.gov.uk
Social media: on Twitter www.twitter.com/CDDFRS, or Facebook www.facebook.com/CoDurhamAndDarlingtonFireAndRescueService
Posted on Thursday 26th March 2015