Scheme to help folk feel safer

POLICE across Derbyshire are helping to promote a council-led scheme to help people with hearing impairments feel safer in their homes.

The scheme, which is run by the Derbyshire Handy Van Network, offers people with a hearing impairment or who are aged over 60 the chance to have a specialist door chime fitted.

Derbyshire County Council first started the initiative in May 2010 and had fitted the devices to 400 homes by October 2011.

They provided further funding in March for 300 more door chimes and portable pagers and a further 123 have been fitted across the county.

The devices can be set to chime on a variety of loudness settings but also have a flashing light which is activated when someone pushes the button on the door.

The householder is also given a vibrating pager, which also flashes, to carry around with them.

Since March, 36 have been fitted in the Amber Valley.

Insp Barry Thacker, county partnerships liaison officer, said: “The scheme was developed in response to research which revealed many residents with a hearing impairment often leave their doors unlocked or on the latch for visitors because they can’t hear them ringing or knocking.

“This leaves them more vulnerable to sneak-in or distraction burglaries which we hope to be able to prevent.

“The response has been great from those people who have had them fitted, with around 95 per cent saying the devices have helped them to feel safer and that they would recommend them to others.”

Residents are referred to the scheme either following a visit by our adult care team, following a home security safety check carried out by the Handy Van Network or a fire safety check carried out by Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.

l For details on the Derbyshire Handy Van Network visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk or contact 01773 604426.