A new referral process – aimed at keeping frail and vulnerable people safe from fire – has been developed by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and NHS Grampian.
SFRS recognised elderly and vulnerable people are being visited by health care professionals on a daily basis. These people are at greater risk from fire and may not even have working smoke alarms. The pathway guides NHS Grampian staff through the potential risk factors; if they have clients who meet these criteria they can provide information about the free Home Fire Safety Visits or even refer them for a visit directly.
Station Manager Gordon Riddel worked with Allied Health Professionals – including Occupational Therapists – and nursing staff to set up this referral pathway. He said: “Early warning of a fire in the home is absolutely crucial to people getting out unhurt. The main purpose of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is to work in partnership with communities and with others in the public, private and third sectors, on prevention, protection and response, to improve the safety and wellbeing of people throughout Scotland. “
Susan Carr is NHS Grampian’s Associate Director for Allied Health Professionals. She said “Our staff are committed to keeping their patients safe and well. Working with SFRS to promote fire safety is a logical extension of this. The end result is a simple guide which will keep elderly or at risk patients safer. So far this work has been focused on Aberdeen. There has been a lot of interest in this from teams in Aberdeenshire and Moray so the next step will be encouraging similar collaborations there.”
Station Manager Riddel added: “Fire can strike in an instant and spread incredibly quickly, with lethal levels of toxic smoke travelling throughout a home in moments.
“We’re determined to make sure everyone in Aberdeen is protected by appropriate and effective fire detection systems and this partnership means we can provide people who have mobility problems, disabilities or sensory impairment with exactly that.”
Firefighters routinely provide advice and support to residents to help them keep their homes fire safe, with SFRS crews available to conduct free home fire safety visits in every community.
Taking only around 20 minutes to complete, the short visits are always arranged for a time that suits the householder and provide local crews with the chance to point out hazards many people are unaware often exist within homes.
The firefighters check to ensure the property is protected by working smoke alarms and where these are needed will even provide and install them free of charge.
Where a person could benefit from additional support or access to a particular service, such as the specialist alarms for people with hearing impairment, this can also be arranged.
Free home fire safety visits can be arranged by calling SFRS on the freephone number 0800 073 1999, texting ‘FIRE’ to 80800 or completing a form at www.firescotland.gov.uk.
Our photo shows (L-R) Janet Thomson - NHS Senior OT, Linda Press - NHS Service Manager/North Cluster Gordon Riddel - Station Manager for Prevention & Protection Jackie Berry - NHS Head OT for Adult mental health Susan Carr - NHS Associate Director for AHPs