Prevention is better than cure – an old saying that is very fitting for Kent’s modern day fire service, which strives to prevent fires and other emergencies from happening in the first place.
In the last two years alone, Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) Safe and Well Team has visited more than 20,000 homes across Kent and Medway, supporting residents to live safely and independently at home. The free Safe and Well home visit service is an opportunity for eligible residents to receive vital fire safety advice and have smoke alarms fitted, relocated and tested. Safe and Well officers identify potential fire hazards and work with residents to help them live more safely – judgement free.
Safe and Well Officer Helen Kyte said: “When I tell people I work for KFRS, they initially think I fight fires – but when I explain to them that my role as a Safe and Well officer is to prevent fires in the home from occurring in the first place, they realise it’s actually a really important aspect of the service.
“We’re here to make sure those we are visiting are safe and to answer any questions they may have. Visits usually take around 45 minutes, and by the end, the aim is to ensure the person has peace of mind that their home is fire safe.”
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The service has been adapted during the Covid-19 pandemic so residents can continue to seek fire safety advice in way that protects both KFRS staff and customers. Phone consultations have replaced what would normally be more simple visits, and face-to-face visits have continued in high risk cases and where smoke alarms need to be fitted, but with officers wearing full PPE and maintaining social distancing.
Helen said: “Home really is a safe place – something that has certainly felt more evident for everyone during lockdown, so it’s our job to ensure homes stay that way in terms of fire risk.
“We provide advice tailored to the individual’s property and lifestyle to help prevent fires, including escape plan and electrical safety advice. We also work closely with other local services so we can arrange further support for anyone who needs it.”
To find out more, to book a free visit or to discuss any home fire safety concerns, call the team on 0800 923 7000 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm). The friendly team will check your eligibility and arrange a time and date for a call or visit that suits you.