Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be issuing fridge magnets to vulnerable people to make it easier for them to use its augmented reality (AR) app.

The app, which is available to download free from Google Play Store on Android phones and Appstore for iPhones, is designed to give access to safety advice and videos using augmented reality technology.

The app uses augmented reality to bring the components of the digital world into the real world and to give an interactive experience. Content is accessed by scanning or viewing the Service’s badge through the app on a mobile device. It takes the position of real physical objects and determines the location of virtual objects, displaying them on the screen of the device being used. It’s an educational tool which can be used to help increase awareness of the different hazards around the home. The augmented reality app people may be most familiar with is ‘Pokemon Go’ which uses this technology to overlay virtual creatures on the real landscape and in 2016 it became extremely popular with children and adults alike.

Home Safety manager Stephanie Cooley said:

“We developed the app to give us another way of getting our safety messages out to people. Most households have smartphones and tablets. The popularity of Pokemon Go showed it was something that a lot of people were prepared to engage with so we decided to try to harness that and use it for our advice and tips. We also realised it was technology that would allow us to develop further and give us other options. At the moment, anyone using the app has access to information such as our Top 10 tips, electrical safety advice and how to stay safe in the kitchen.

“The magnets will be given out to people who need them when we do a Safe and Well visit. The Service’s badge is on the front of them, so all they have to do is scan the magnet with a smartphone or tablet and they can have a look at our safety advice. The hope is that by making things more interactive it’ll encourage people to browse different topics and spend more time looking at our messages.”

Safe and Well visits are carried out in homes throughout the county. During a visit a Community Safety Officer will fit smoke alarms, offer fire safety advice and check the properties for potential hazards. During these visits they also check the residents’ general wellbeing and ensure they have sufficient heating, benefits, etc. If there are any other concerns they refer the occupiers on to the appropriate agencies.

You can request a Safe and Well visit for yourself or someone else by contacting our Community Advice Team on 0800 0241 999.