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Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service offers Dementia Care training for Firefighters

Published
20.02.2019

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) is working across the whole fire service to raise awareness of Dementia within the community. A recent training event was held at Stroud Fire Station for firefighters to talk through the role they play within the community and to fully understand the impact of Dementia.

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The evening session, held last week, was led by Dementia Friends, which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative, and included a Bingo game to test and improve people’s knowledge about Dementia. 

Wayne Bowcock, Chief Fire Officer, said: "We are ensuring that all staff are aware of this important Dementia initiative. During this session staff were encouraged to think of something they would do to help when dealing with people with Dementia when on duty, particularly during Safe &  Well visits. The event was about making staff more aware of Dementia, how it can affect people, and how we can behave around them to help with their condition."

The five key messages that firefighters learnt over the session were:

  1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing.
  2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain.
  3. Dementia is not just about losing your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks.
  4. It’s possible to live well with dementia.
  5. There’s more to a person than the dementia.

Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for public protection, parking and libraries, said: "This session built upon GFRS’s history of reaching out to vulnerable members of the community. In 2015 the service signed the Government’s Dementia Pledge which is designed to improve the safety of people living with Dementia. We trained twelve fire fighters as Dementia Link Workers (DCLs) and worked with community and focus groups, including carers and those living with Dementia to design and create bespoke fire safety information specifically for those living with memory impairment. These are unique to Gloucestershire and are available free of charge across the county."

Firefighters from Stroud and Nailsworth attended the session, and more sessions will be rolled out across GFRS with the help of Watch Manager Roger Pickett from Coleford Station, who works as a Community Friendly Dementia Enabler within the community as his day job.

Roger says he came across people with Dementia as part of his link-worker role and is delighted to be working with GFRS to raise awareness of Dementia.

Roger said: “My aim is to increase empathy and understanding about Dementia. I have met with schools, colleges, and businesses to deliver this course to help people to spot Dementia and understand how best to deal with it.”

Organisations who are interested in the Dementia Awareness course can contact roger.pickett@glosfire.gov.uk

For a FREE Safe & Well visit contact Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 1804140 or visit www.glosfire.gov.uk 

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