Over the last couple of months there has been a date held in my diary for a ‘Fire Summit’. Every now and then I would flick passed it and think ‘hmmm that’s interesting, wonder if it’s to do with mandatory training?’ Anyway, as the day got closer and the preparation papers started appearing my interest and intrigue grew, as apparently we were meeting with real firefighters AND they want to work with us on an idea I thought they had around linking home safety checks with falls prevention and older people’s safety.
So I duly turned up to the NHS England convened meeting with our Long Term Conditions leader, Dr Martin McShane co-facilitating the session with Duncan Selbie Chief Executive, Public Health England and Peter Dartford – Chief Fire Officers Association President. I had not realised at the point I sat down that the next three hours would be so motivating, inspiring and rewarding! Did you know that firemen and women currently carry out 670,000 home and safety checks a year already? Over the last ten years they have changed their approach from the essential fire alarm testing to a more holistic preventative approach around being safe and well at home. They have worked hard to better understand the determinants of vulnerability to fire in the home which has resulted in a 50% reduction in call outs, with death and injury from fire currently being at an all time low. They have worked out they can drive down demand and make individuals and communities safer by focusing on prevention. And who are the primary people that they are delivering these safe and well checks to? Yes! The very same high risk groups that we are trying to work with on health and care agendas; the elderly, the frail, those in socially deprived communities.
The time is now for health, care and fire services to work together as Geoff Harris, Assistant County Fire Officer, Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, put so eloquently, “there is more than one way to rescue somebody” and he is right! The other thing Geoff said was that the public have a different conversation with firemen and women. This is true and I don’t know whether it’s because they are so brave, and usually burly, that we put our trust in them and have a tendency to share innermost fears and anxieties, either way, the more we know about the population that we are all trying to rescue, the more we can prevent them coming to harm and enable them to live well and safely together.
On 4 June 2015, Peter Dartford – Chief Fire Officers Association President, and Geoff Harris – Assistant County Fire Officer, Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, hosted a webex with the Long Term Conditions Learning Community. In this, they shared their work across Greater Manchester, and how they are working collaboratively with their CCGs.
Beverley Matthews Programme Delivery Lead – Long Term Conditions @Bev_J_Matthews