Community firefighter's festive vow to help isolated homeowners
11 December 2018
By Jamie Milligan
A community firefighter has described how he helped a young man living in isolation turn his life around.
Watch Manager John Paul works as part of Renfrewshire and Inverclyde's Community Action Team and visits people from a range of backgrounds to offer safety advice and to help minimise the risk of harm in homes.
A key part of his job is also engagement and ensuring that vulnerable members of society are offered appropriate support and guidance.
And as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service launches its 2018 Winter safety campaign, Watch Manager Paul has reflected on how a recent visit to the home of an isolated man left him determined to assist.
He said: “This young man lived in isolation within a small property.
"He contacted us, we spoke to him at length, and he opened up about a number of things that were going on in his life.
"We were able to help him make that first move, which was to his GP.
"We also contacted his housing association to let them know there is a resident who needs support.
"We walked away from that knowing we had made a positive impact.
"We're all human and if people can share their problems and feelings during a visit then it can be crucial.”
With Christmas fast approaching, Watch Manager Paul is keen to help prevent as many people as possible from feeling alone.
He said: "Whether it's Christmas, or any time of year, isolation is not fun.
“But we know at this time of year it can be particularly hard for people.
"Christmas time is all about families coming together, but unfortunately some people don't have families.
“That’s why we are so keen to reach out to as many people as we can through our home fire safety visit programme.
"The effect crews across Scotland can have with a home fire safety visit is immeasurable.
"That engagement is key to driving down accidental house fires and helping to prevent the elderly and vulnerable from being isolated.
"We want people to see that they are not on their own.”
For more information on how to receive a free home fire safety visit