Stroke survivors across Lancashire are set to see a safer year, thanks to a reciprocal training programme between the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and The Stroke Association. 

Staff from both organisations met at Barton Grange Garden Centre in Preston to share their expertise and experiences with each other to help reduce the risk of fire in the homes of stroke survivors. 

The reciprocal programme gave fire service staff insights into the specific needs of stroke survivors, while also helping the charity identify those individuals who might be at higher risk of harm from fire. Fireservice staff learned how a stroke can affect mobility, cause visual or hearing impairments and present difficulties in communicating - all of which could potentially make people more vulnerable to harm from fire. 

According to one community fire safety officer, the training was extremely valuable: "I didn't realise the range of different impairments and risks that stroke survivors face. I'll certainly be more aware of things like communication difficulties when it comes to speaking with stroke survivors about reducing fire risk." 

Thanks to fire prevention initiatives such as these, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service has in recent years, dramatically reduced the numbers of accidental fires in the home, preventing the trauma and devastation that they cause.   

Crucial to that success has been the take-up of Home Fire Safety Check visits (HFSC's), in which fire safety staff visit people in their home to advise on how to stay safe from fire, installing free smoke detectors where necessary. A major contribution to the take-up of HFSC's has been the close association with community organisations such as The Stroke Association.  

Lancashire's Chief Fire Officer, Peter Holland, said:"The work of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and that of The Stroke Association draw certain obvious parallels. The onset of strokes and the incidence of fires in the home are emergencies prompting intervention by emergency services to save life in the immediate term, followed by as much rehabilitation and recovery as is possible for the individual and family affected."   

"Essentially, we and The Stroke Association want to reach the same people with our prevention and protection messages and it is entirely appropriate that our organisations should work closely together to do that." 

Angela Walkden, Head of Operations in the North West for The Stroke Association, said: "The Stroke Association is pleased to be working with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. The joint training day has been extremely valuable in enabling staff to recognise people who might be at increased risk of harm from fire. This is especially important, as people affected by stroke are already among some of the more vulnerable in the community. By identifying people at risk and addressing any hazards, stroke survivors are often able to continue to live independently after their stroke." 


If you would like more information about stroke, The Stroke Association or its services please call Julie Ainscow at The Stroke Association on 0161 742 7478 or 07852 906 711. 


Date posted: 26.01.11