Fire and Rescue Prevention Service for people with mental health challenges

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service provide free of charge (for those over 65, people with mental health challenges, people with physical disabilities, drug or alcohol users, heavy smokers and single parents with ‘chaotic’ lifestyles) home fire safety visits. These visits are carried out by three countywide practitioners, (Shelley Turner-Dochery in West Suffolk). In locations close to manned fire stations these visits may be made by fire officers in a fire engine.

The visits are typically about an hour in length and include:

  • A fire safety walk around the property, with the resident, identifying potential fire hazards such as overloaded plugs.
  • Talking to the person to evaluate their mobility/hearing.
  • The offer of certain free safety equipment such as a minimum of one smoke alarm per floor (which will be fitted during the visit if needed).
  • Sensory alarms for those who have a hearing impairment. This would be a sensory alarm which is connected by wifi to a vibrating pad under a mattress with a flashing strobe light on the ceiling.
  • Fire retardant bedding (duvet cover, pillow cover, bottom sheet)
  • Fire retardant ‘throw’ to be used by smokers who spend long periods in a chair.
  • A prevention talk covering high risk materials (petroleum based emollients for example)and emergency evacuation.

A professional or member of the family can be present during the visit. It is important that the individual concerned is aware that a referral is being made on their behalf. The usual waiting time is up to six weeks but an urgent referral can be made if there are higher than usual risks involved.

The fire prevention practitioner may make onward referral to (for example) Onelife Suffolk for smoking cessation or the ‘Warmer Home scheme’ if the existing method of home heating gives cause for concern.

This is for general information purposes-more detail and a referral form can be made at:

Email fire.businesssupport@suffolk.gov.uk or call 01473 260588 if you have any questions about safer home visits.