Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has welcomed a report from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) calling on the wider workforce to support efforts to improve the nation’s health.
Rethinking the Public Health Workforce identifies workers from across the public and private sectors that could contribute to keeping people safe and well in their communities.
The report also identifies a number of occupations who have already begun to support public health work including fire and rescue services across the country.
As well as carrying out 67,000 Home Safety Checks a year GMFRS has been working with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to form a new team called Community Risk Intervention.
The team has been responding to cardiac arrests, concerns for welfare, installing falls reduction equipment and helping people to reduce risk in their homes.
The project has the potential to save the public purse over £3.2million every year by giving people increased independence and reducing demand on other services.
GMFRS is also looking at ways in which it can enhance Home Safety Checks to try and help people stay safe from health risks as well as fires.
Fire and health are closely linked and by improving peoples health and well-being, signposting them to the services they need and intervening when they can staff at GMFRS will improve the quality of life for everyone it serves.
Fires often affects people with complex dependencies and GMFRS works closely with health and social care services to reduce fatal fires.
The Service has made partnerships with NHS trusts across Greater Manchester and holds mutual training sessions between health professionals and community safety staff.
Elsewhere, GMFRS has been working with health agencies and the third sector to help improve the plight of people with dementia.
In Wigan GMFRS has worked with the Good Deeds Trust to issue devices known as Guardian Angels to people with dementia.
Anyone wearing a device that becomes lost or confused can have the back scanned by a phone which will display the person’s first name and emergency contact number, the telephone number can then be clicked and the emergency contact called to get them home safely.
GMFRS has also signed up to a memorandum of understanding, which sets out the priorities for Greater Manchester Combined Authority as it gets to grips with control of the city region’s £6billion health and social care budget.
The agreement focuses on prevention and early intervention – the same approach which GMFRS has used to cut fires by 40 per cent in Greater Manchester over the last decade.
Peter O’Reilly, County Fire Officer and Chief Executive of GMFRS, said: “GMFRS is already playing its part in improving public health in the city region.
“Our staff, including firefighters, have been working in our communities to identify those who might be vulnerable or at risk and where we can’t remove or reduce the risk we pass this information onto other professionals like social workers, who are better placed to help.
“We are completing falls assessments where we identify people as being frail or at risk of falling. We are also fitting handrails to prevent falling.
“We are proud to help and will be expanding our role in this area significantly in the coming weeks and months.
“I would encourage everyone to contact us directly if they think we can help. Is a neighbour or relative living in a home that is obviously cold?
“Does it take them a long time to get out of a chair or walk a short distance, or are they living alone without regular contact from anyone?
“We don’t need specialist training to help these people – we just need information to connect with them. If it was my family, that’s what I would want.”
To find out more about how GMFRS can help you and your community visit www.manchesterfire.gov.uk or call 0800 555 815.