Health workers’ bid to prevent Isle home fires

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Health workers have joined forces with Humberside Fire and Rescue Service to help prevent home tragedies.

District nurses, community matrons and therapists, along with social care staff from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, have been learning about the dangers of air flow mattresses for patients who smoke and other fire hazards to look out for when they visit a patient at home.

Michelle Farrell, community safety advocate at HFRS, visited staff based in Scunthorpe to explain the dangers. She said: “We were alerted to the dangers of these mattresses by Manchester Fire and Rescue Service who had seen a number of incidents in their area.

“There was also a fatality in our region so we wanted to look at what we could do to reduce the risk and came up with the idea of training up other agencies to spot the dangers.”

The fire service is working with a number of agencies who all provide a service to vulnerable members of the community in their own homes, including the police, NHS staff and housing officers.

Michelle added: “We want staff to look out for potential fire hazards and risks. They are effectively our eyes and ears out in the community. The types of things we want them to look out for include whether the patient can self-evacuate in the event of a fire, if they have smoke alarms fitted and if they are tested regularly. Also does the patient smoke, are there cigarette burns on the furniture? If staff have any concerns at all they can refer the patient for a home safety check.”

Tina Sykes, head of nursing for community and therapy services at NLaG, said: “Our community staff already signpost patients to other services that they may benefit from so they are well placed to be able to refer them to our colleagues in the fire service.

“The safety of our patients is of paramount importance so we are grateful Michelle approached us to ensure our staff have the knowledge they need.”

A home safety check involves staff from the fire service visiting the patient at home to provide safety information about how to prevent a fire and advise them what to do in the event of an emergency. The team will also carry out fire safety checks and make a note of anything that would help fire crews attending an incident.

Home safety checks are free and people can refer themselves for one, providing they meet the risk criteria. If you are concerned about yourself or a friend or relative then call: 0300 303 8242