Disability has been defined by the Equality Act 2010 as “a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities”.
What support do we offer to our Communities?
We are aware through referrals from our partners, direct referrals from members of our communities and specialist computer modelling software, that individuals who are suffering with a long term illness or disability are at an increased risk when it comes to fire. These individuals, whether it be due to a physical or mental impairment are at a greater risk than the wider population. We proactively visit these residents to carry out Safe and Well Visits, supporting individuals to live safely in their home.
Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue service have specifically identified that individuals suffering from Mobility, Sight and hearing impairments as well as those suffering from Dementia, are at an increased risk, therefore we have additional measures and resources in place to support these individuals, for example specialist detectors for deaf people. We also work in partnership with lots of different groups e.g. Better Balance, Dementia Friends, Age UK, NHS and others to continually improve the support we are able to offer to best meet the needs of these individuals.
We also recognise that those struggling with mental health issues may require a different form of support and we therefore work closely with a range of community mental health teams to ensure we understand the needs of these individuals. Further partnerships include GP surgeries, and Domestic Violence teams.
How do we support our Workforce?
As a service we are committed to supporting our workforce and we therefore encourage members of our workforce to disclose any known disabilities so that we can offer the support they require.
The Service is recognised as a Disability Confident employer and is committed to ensuring that those living with a disability have equal access to inclusive and accessible recruitment and provision of reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process and during employment.
We have a Health and Wellbeing team who are available to support our employees with disabilities within the workplace. The team seek to identify adjustments to equipment, working patterns etc to find a suitable solution that will aid staff in effectively performing their role within the workplace. The service also has an established policy for supporting staff with Dyslexia and encourages staff who are struggling to come forward so that the right level of support can offered.
The mental health and wellbeing of our staff is equally as important, and the Service has support mechanisms in place for staff suffering from a mental health condition. We have signed up to the MIND Blue Light Programme and have an active peer support network in place to support all staff and volunteers. Research shows that members of the emergency services are at an increased risk of experiencing a mental health problem when compared to the general population, but are less likely to seek support. It is therefore important that our staff have this support easily accessible to them through a service sponsored programme.