FIREFIGHTERS in the Chichester district are teaming up with West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) to drive home safety messages to people who use drink and drugs.
They want to prevent people getting run over or setting fire to their homes while they’re drunk or high on drugs.
Pete Bradbury, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Public protection, said: “The fact is: When someone is under the influence of drink or drugs, he or she is at their most vulnerable.
“Generally speaking, what they’re going to have for dinner or how they’re going to get home isn’t something that’s well thought out. We want to support those who are at risk and make people safer on the roads and within the home.”
Roger Wood, Deputy District Commander, West Sussex County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Drugs or alcohol were a factor in a number of the incidents we have attended that have ended in tragedy.
“Along with DAAT, we will be aiming to educate a greater number of people to ensure they are aware of the dangers they can face while they’re under the influence of drink or drugs.”
DAAT will be providing drug and alcohol training to the Fire and Rescue Service and in return they will provide training to local drug and alcohol treatment agencies in fire and road safety.
“We will be training drug and alcohol workers in the Chichester area to be more aware of the risk their clients face when under the influence of drink or drugs and what they can do as professionals to help minimise that risk.”
Tom Van Der Wee, Project Manager, DAAT, said: “There is a much higher risk that if you go home hungry while under the influence that you might, for example, try and cook your dinner and end up causing your chip pan to set fire.
“This joint initiative by the Fire and Rescue Service will help people to plan ahead so their night doesn’t end in tragedy.
“People will be targeted directly or through their friends and family and we will be looking at rolling out this initiative elsewhere in West Sussex.
“By providing additional drug and alcohol awareness training to emergency services we hope that they will feel more informed to deal with situations as and when they arise.”
DAAT’s project with the Fire and Rescue Service follows it working alongside Sussex Police Roads Policing Officers, which provided additional training into the effects of drug driving.
Inspector Phil Nicholas of Sussex Police Road Policing Unit based at Chichester said: “It is just as dangerous to drive impaired by drugs as alcohol.
“So we need to send a clear message that drug drivers are as likely to be caught as drink drivers and that drug driving is as socially unacceptable as drink driving has become.”