VULNERABLE people will be targeted through a partnership between Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to prevent accidents occurring in their home.

The ‘safe and well checks’ scheme was discussed by North East Area Council members last Thursday, whose members were told about the initiative to boost safety in homes through advice and risk assessments.

Residents deemed to be high risk in villages such as Brierley, Cudworth, Great Houghton, Grimethorpe, Monk Bretton, Royston and Shafton will be visited by a team who will assess what can be done to reduce the likelihood of an accident occurring.

Firefighters based in Cudworth will be trained up in January ahead of the launch of the pilot in February before it’s rolled out across Barnsley, and although every age group is included, the focus will be on the vulnerable at first.

Mayor of Barnsley Coun Jeff Ennis said: “The scheme looks at taking action by implementing measures and advice before an incident takes place, so it has my complete backing.

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“Firefighters’ roles have changed and are now looking at ways in how fires and accidents can be prevented. They’ve done fantastic work in Barnsley before and I’m certain this will be yet another example of that.”

Coun Malcolm Clements said: “The emphasis is on prevention as that’s better than the cure, and figures suggest call-outs are down so crews aren’t as busy as they used to be.

“This will be a great use of their time as their advice will reduce the likelihood of incidents. It’s something we all fully support and although the pilot will be in our area first, it does make sense to roll it out across the whole of Barnsley.”

Although fire prevention is the primary focus, homes will be assessed to deem if they’re also at risk of being cold in the winter months and if they’re safe from crime.

“We visit around 21,000 homes a year already and carry out a whole host of checks,” Kelly Jenkins, from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said. “We also identify cold homes, assess the likelihood of slips, trips and falls and of course provide advice on fire prevention by checking and fitted smoke alarms if they are required.

“The aim of the Safe and Well Checks scheme is to take action before in order to prevent anything happening. There’s been a national push to encourage collaborative work between agencies and this is a direct result of that.

“The scheme has already received the backing of Berneslai Homes, Age UK and Dementia Action Alliance.

“Data suggests over 65s require more support. One in three people in that age bracket fall each year in their own home and the older end, aged 80 and above, increases to two in three.

“It’s all about intervening to raise awareness, reduce hazards and prevent harm through early warning.”