Part­ner­ship plan to pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble

New bor­ough com­man­der ready for chal­lenge

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

HILLING­DON’S new Lon­don Fire Brigade Bor­ough Com­man­der is on a mis­sion to en­sure vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are fit­ted with fire alarms.

Richard Clay­don, who will soon be reach­ing 30 years of ser­vice, moved from his pre­vi­ous post as Har­row bor­ough com­man­der to Hilling­don on June 1 for “more of a chal­lenge”.

He said: “I live in Ruis­lip so I have a per­sonal con­nec­tion. Although it’s a safe and well-per­form­ing bor­ough, there’s still chal­lenges and it can al­ways do bet­ter.”

Mr Clay­don, 50, wants to reach out to the el­derly and peo­ple with mo­bil­ity is­sues or drug and al­co­hol de­pend­abil­ity.

“Most of the vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the bor­ough will have in­ter­ven­tion from Hilling­don Coun­cil, adult ser­vices, chil­dren’s ser­vices, safer neigh­bour­hoods teams with the po­lice, there’s a whole raft of peo­ple that we work with,” he said.

“Those at most risk of fa­tal fires are sadly the peo­ple we don’t know about, so when I speak to these part­ners I can find out as the po­lice or coun­cil may know about them so com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key.”

He said a part­ner­ship re­fer­ral scheme is be­ing set up so part­ner agen­cies can alert the Fire Brigade to vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple within 48 hours and fit them with fire alarms.

Mr Clay­don is tak­ing the ap­proach that preven­tion is bet­ter than cure, and will ar­range ‘home fire safety vis­its’ around the bor­ough.

There has been a drop in the num­ber of in­ci­dents and fire crews re­spond to 50% fewer cases than 10 years ago, which Mr Clay­don says is down to the com­mu­nity safety and preven­tion work they do.

He added: “The big­gest chal­lenge in the bor­ough is a re­cent spate of ar­son. On the old RAF camp, we did a lot of work with the RAF po­lice, fire ser­vice and MOD and upped our pres­ence so it seems to have gone away for the mo­ment.

“The big dan­ger here is dan­ger to them­selves be­cause the build­ings are derelict and once they’re alight they can de­velop into full fires.”

In a rolling 12 months be­tween 2014-2015 there were 149 do­mes­tic fires, with can­dles and in­cense, smok­ing and cook­ing ac­ci­dents the com­mon cause of re­cent blazes.

n MIS­SION: Hilling­don Bor­ough Com­man­der Richard Clay­don

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