A pioneering partnership initiative by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and NHS Tayside, which aims to prevent fires in the homes of the most vulnerable and at risk people, is being launched in Dundee today.
Both organisations have been working closely to produce a new e-learning module for health care professionals, which is hoped will improve home fire safety for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Health practitioners will use information contained in the new LearnPro module (being launched today) to identify indicators of people who are at risk from fire, establish fire risks within the home, raise awareness of the prevention services the SFRS can provide and have a better understanding of how to refer individuals to SFRS for a Home Fire Safety Visit.
Work has been ongoing behind the scenes for some time to create this module through a focus group involving SFRS, NHS Tayside and other key partners.
A previously developed case study of all the fire deaths encountered in the Tayside area identified a number of similarities in terms of the contributory factors involved. The deaths mainly involved older people who lived alone in rented accommodation and who suffered from a long term health condition.
Group Manager Tait said: “The crucial issue raised during the case study was that all these individuals were known to other agencies, but not to Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. We agreed that a partnership approach was the best way forward in addressing the five themes emerging from our conversations: risk assessment; awareness education and training; partnership working; discharge and home visits; and prioritising key people/groups.
“During the meetings we agreed a number of actions including raising awareness with staff of the risks faced by vulnerable people within their homes, to provide information on the services SFRS could provide and offer information about how other agencies could refer someone to us so that we could carry out a Home Fire Safety Visit.”
He added: “One of the actions we then agreed on was to develop an e-learning module, which was developed by NHS Tayside in conjunction with SFRS.
“We conducted a pilot of the LearnPro module in September last year with key NHS Tayside and NHS Education for Scotland personnel and following feedback the module was adapted to become the final version we are launching here today.”
GM Tait added: “Unfortunately SFRS is still encountering incidents that are entirely preventable and by ensuring we adopt this joined up approach with health practitioners we can increase the service users’ safety within their own homes and further reduce the occurrences of house fires and the tragic consequences they can bring.”
NHS Tayside’s Associate AHP Director for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Shelagh Creegan said: “Allied Health Professionals are focused on how best to use their expertise to support prevention and early interventions to improve the safety of vulnerable service users within their own home.
“This e-learning module is an excellent resource for all health and social care practitioners which demonstrates how they can adopt new ways of working with confidence within complex health and social care systems.”