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Specialist sensory training will allow Lichfield firefighters to recognise the fire risks faced by blind people. During a unique training session at Lichfield Fire Station on Friday afternoon, Carmel Warren, Risk Reduction Manager at Lichfield Area Command, will, along with her colleagues, gain a greater understanding of the challenges faced by people with vision impairment. Carmel said the event, delivered by Staffordshire County Council’s Wellbeing Disability Team, will raise awareness of the support blind people need to keep them safe from fire in their home:
“The training makes you appreciate just how much more difficult it is for a blind person to deal with a fire situation, therefore our aim is to stop an incident occurring in the first place.”
The sensory training is being held in support of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s campaign, Young at Heart Safe at Home. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of fire safety among the elderly and those who care for them. It is driven by the fact all five fire deaths in Staffordshire since the start of the year have involved the elderly. Specialist Alarms Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chris Plant, said:
“People with sight problems are targeted with our Home Fire Risk Checks. Because they depend on audio, and can only hear their alarm when it’s activated, we go into homes and help them plan their safest and quickest exit in the case of an incident.”
Marian Tague, Visual Impairment Rehab Officer for the Wellbeing Disability Team, said:
“The training includes a presentation by Norman Ellis, a blind man who is kind enough to provide his story of a person living with sight loss in a dynamic world. It provides people with insight into the different types of vision loss and the potential daily challenges encountered by people who suffer with them. “The training is always tailored to the participants and has strong practical elements which are underpinned with a working knowledge base of key principles around aspects of sight loss. “The firefighters will benefit from increased awareness and confidence and it will empower them to identify risk and refer individuals with sight loss to us and other services available to them.”

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Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.