FREE ‘survival bags’ have been handed out to vulnerable adults living rough in Trowbridge.

The Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is providing nearly 40 street survival bags to the Alabare drop-in centre, to be distributed to those in most need the help.

Inside the bags, which are waterproof backpacks with a reflective patch on them and cost the service about £30 each, are items such as a smoke detector, a tin for cigarette ends and a wind-up lantern.

Also provided are personal hygiene items, basic utensils, a first aid kit, a survival blanket and a sleeping bag.

Group manager Steve Williams said: “We have attended a number of fires in derelict buildings which have been used as refuges by the homeless and there was a fatal fire involving a homeless man in Warminster just two years ago.

“We wanted to find a way of reducing the risks for people living on the streets, while also providing valuable support for this most vulnerable part of our community.”

Everything provided in the bags has been discussed with the people who will be using them to ensure they are suitable for their needs.

It was feedback from homeless people that led to the inclusion of a smoke detector in the bags.

Mr Williams added: “We want them to be safe from fire, safe from the elements and safe on the roads, and hopefully this will also lead to an improvement in their quality of life.”

As well as helping homeless people to be safer, the service is hoping the initiative will provide vital information on where people are sleeping rough so if there is a fire in a derelict building they know there could be people trapped inside.

Mr Williams said: “Having that extra intelligence could mean the difference between life and death for someone.

“Helping these vulnerable people will also help to protect the wider community and properties.”

Ali Coxall, from Alabare, which has a drop-in centre in Duke Street, said it was a ‘fantastic initiative’ and added: “The street survival bags will reduce the risk of fire for our clients when they are sleeping rough and they will be most welcome to those who receive them.

“We thank the fire and rescue service for such generous and practical support.”

Fact File - Pack Contents:
  • Sleeping bag
  • Towel
  • Mug
  • Plate
  • Toilet roll x 2
  • Wipes
  • Flask
  • Wind-up lantern
  • Socks x 2 pairs
  • Tobacco tin (ashtray)
  • Razors x 3
  • Toothbrush x 2
  • Toothpaste
  • Smoke Detector
  • Sewing kit
  • Cutlery
  • Tin opener
  • First aid kit
  • Black rubbish bags x 2
  • Poncho
  • Survival bag
  • Survival blanket
  • Next of kin cards x 10
  • Trowbridge street map
  • Useful contacts sheet