More than 6.5 million people in the UK are currently caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is older, disabled or seriously ill. Yet many people don’t identify themselves as carers, they simply see themselves as spouses, partners, parents, children or friends.
The Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe & Well checks, and the ‘Do you know a CHARLIE?’ campaign focuses on asking carers, both paid and unpaid, to help identify those people who are most vulnerable to the risk of fire.
To be a CHARLIE, a person needs to meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Care and support needs
- Hoarding and/or mental health issues
- Alcohol and medication use
- Reduced mobility
- Lives alone
- Inappropriate smoking
- Elderly – 65+
We know from our data that at least one of the CHARLIE factors comes into play in almost all of our fatal fires. We have specialist Safe & Well Advisors who can visit the home, provide advice and, wherever possible, introduce safeguards to reduce the risk of fire. However, we also know that the most vulnerable people often don’t see themselves in that way, which is why we need the help of carers to contact us and make a referral.
The Safe & Well team is also providing referral prompt cards to domiciliary care providers, GP practices, reablement teams and other professionals who will potentially be visiting people at home.