The most vulnerable members of Scotland’s communities will receive greater support to stay safe at home - thanks to a new training facility launched by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
Firefighters will assist a growing elderly population by learning how to look out for signs of danger that could lead to slips and trips, and also identify the needs of those living with dementia.
The crews will be trained at the Safe and Well House at SFRS Headquarters in Cambuslang, near Glasgow - which recreates a domestic environment with hidden hazards.
The Service is committed to ensuring those who are at a higher risk from fire are visited by firefighters as a matter of priority.
The facility – which will also be used by partners and effectively form an intelligence hub – was officially opened by Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Community Safety earlier today (Wednesday, September 13).
Assistant Chief Officer David McGown is the SFRS Director of Prevention and Protection.
He said: “The Safe and Well House is a new and dynamic facility at our National Training Centre in Cambuslang – and the potential here is incredible.
“What was previously a traditional firefighting training facility now recreates a domestic environment, enabling firefighters to undertake training on home safety and community issues.
“We hope our Safe House will also be used by our partners who provide education and housing, the NHS, the other blue light services, and the third sector, to name but a few.
“We also want to work with building industry partners to explore the latest innovations in fire detection, which will be so beneficial to Scottish households.”
Minister for Community Safety, Annabelle Ewing MSP said: “I am very pleased to open this impressive new facility which will be used to provide practical, interactive, experiential safety education for both SFRS staff and those from partner agencies.
“Funded by the Scottish Government’s Technology Enabled Care Programme, the Safe and Well House, will contribute to our collective aim of improving fire safety within Scottish homes whilst building on our ambition of a more holistic person centred approach, in supporting health and wellbeing outcomes.”
The development of this facility comes as the SFRS looks at transforming and extending the role of the firefighter for the future.
ACO McGown continued: “Our track record in preventative work is undisputed and has driven down the number of primary fires over the last decade.
“Firefighters are trusted - they are valued - and communities always welcome our efforts to keep them safe. But we can do so much more, and the risks are changing and that includes an increasingly elderly population who require our support to stay safe.
“Firefighters are increasingly being called upon to assist with forced entry or are first on the scene providing emergency first aid.
“In this house we can train for a range of circumstances, including casualty handling and falls assessments; bogus callers and even for dealing with evidence of domestic abuse.
“As the Service transforms to broaden the role of the firefighter, this Safe and Well House training facility will enable us to focus on those priorities as a core part of our training.”
Firefighters continue to conduct FREE home fire safety visits for everyone across Scotland. They will assist in developing an escape plan and supply and install smoke detectors free of charge.
To arrange a visit call 0800 0731 999 or visit www.firescotland.gov.uk