A schoolgirl clinched an award earlier this week for designing a poster promoting free Home Fire Safety Visits for the elderly and people with dementia.
Iona Magee was given a £20 Asda voucher and Maltesers Easter Egg on Wednesday, 10 February for creating the eye-catching picture which states: “Fire safety: get your free check at your house”.
The contest at Lawthorn Primary School in Irvine was organised by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership Dementia Support Service.
They have been sharing expertise over the past few years to ensure Home Fire Safety Visits are tailored to meet the needs of those who are elderly or have dementia.
This can include using bright markers in the home, like pictures on a wall, to indicate the best exit in the event of a fire - as those will be better spotted by those with poor eyesight.
The nearest exit is also preferred for people with mobility issues.
SFRS staff will also ensure that they take the time to clearly explain that the piercing sound of a smoke detector means that the person has to get to safety.
Primary 7 pupil Iona’s poster will now appear in health centres, shops and libraries.
Group manager Albert Bruce began working closely with partner agencies two years ago after noting an increase in incidents linked to dementia – in particular kitchen fires.
The experienced firefighter said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the backing and support of the school as our dementia project in North Ayrshire continues to move forward.
“The children clearly worked very hard to create some really fantastic posters and it was difficult to choose a winner but Iona’s was very colourful and direct - and that is what we need to get the message out there.
“This poster helps to raise awareness of dementia and the risk of fire within the home. We are absolutely committed to reducing that risk through our Home Fire Safety Visits.”
Kerry Rennie, of North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership Dementia Support Service, added: “Iona’s poster was fantastic and it sends out a really clear message about the importance of home fire safety visits and the need to help support more vulnerable members of the community. We will now use this poster to advertise the importance of safety within the home.
“We need to raise awareness about dementia with the whole community so getting school children involved was a really important part of this.”
The winning entry was picked by MSP Margaret McDougall and Councillor Anthea Dickson who is chair of the Integrated Joint Board for North Ayrshire Heath and Social Care Partnership.
Margaret said: “This particular poster stuck out for me because it used very vibrant colours and was really easy to see – and the message about dementia and the need for greater safety was very clear. Iona should be very proud of her excellent submission.
“We need children to recognise if there are any issues relating to elder individuals within their family and within their wider communities. It is good for them to know about these things and have that knowledge.”
Anthea added: "A huge congratulations must go to all the young people that took part in this fantastic competition.
"Picking a winner wasn't easy but Iona's poster really resonated with me; bright, highlighting fire safety and the offer of a free safety check and I'm sure it will send out a really powerful message when it is used in the advertising campaign.
"The poster competition was a fantastic idea to get children, parents, carers and teachers involved to increase awareness about the importance of safety within the home for some of the most vulnerable members of our community."
To register for a FREE Home Fire Safety Visit call the SFRS Freephone number: 0800 0731 999, or visit the website at www.firescotland.gov.uk