Joint effort to cut fire deaths

TAYSIDE Fire and Rescue and NHS Tayside have joined forces to try to cut the number of deaths and injuries in house fires across the region.

They have produced a booklet, ‘Working together to prevent fire deaths’, after two workshop sessions involving 50 staff from the health authority, local councils and Alzheimer Scotland.

The event allowed them to share the best of current practice and to consider what more could be done to prevent fire deaths. The booklet is aimed at the groups’ multi-agency partners.

It followed a Scottish Government study to examine how deaths could be reduced nationally after a 62 per cent increase in 2007/08.

The report identified a range of issues contributing to fire deaths in Scotland including health problems such as alcohol consumption, smoking and mental health.

High levels of deprivation and other social issues such as the number of people living alone, the projected increase in the number of older people and the number of people receiving social care or care in the community are also recorded as key factors.

Gerry Marr, NHS Tayside chief executive, and Shelagh Creegan, associate allied health professions director for mental health and learning disabilities, met chief fire officer Stephen Hunter and community safety manager Martin Tait to discuss further development.

The home fire safety visit will be an important referral mechanism between the two services to help with early prevention of falls, dementia and accidental domestic fires among older people.

Ms Creegan said: “In Tayside public services are developing effective partnership models of working in their community in a preventative capacity to ensure the early identification, safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable populations.

“The booklet outlines the ideas and commitments of professionals who wish to provide the best service possible.”