Today (April 3) West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) is taking the first steps to change the way we deliver home safety advice to members of the community.
For the first time we are introducing a ‘risk filter’ which means that householders will be assessed, through a series of questions about their home and lifestyle, for a face-to-face visit.
Home visits will be prioritised for the most vulnerable members of our communities, who are at higher risk of having a fire in the home, focusing our expertise and time where it is most needed.
Meanwhile, householders who are assessed via our website to be low risk, those who have working smoke alarms and no other concerning lifestyle factors, will be signposted to our new interactive online education package.
If you are assessed via telephone to be low risk we will send leaflets offering advice by post or email if you prefer.
Our online education package features animated firefighters who guide the viewers through a virtual home setting and give advice on fire safety, such as cooking safely, electrical safety and what to do in the event of a fire.
At the end people can print out or save a copy of the advice.
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF
Area Manager for Fire Safety Chris Kirby said: “The new system means that not everyone requesting a home visit will qualify. We want to ensure our resources are directed to those with the greatest need and we have found that many of our visits are currently to those who are well aware of fire safety and have working smoke detection. This means they are very unlikely to have a fire.
“Awareness of fire safety and the essential need for smoke alarm ownership has increased substantially in recent years and that is fantastic news, as many people are living safely and will fall into the ‘low risk’ category. It is the people in this category who we want to signpost to our online education package, which we have put a lot of thought into.
“It’s easy to navigate, good fun for families and has potential for use in schools as the animated cartoons will appeal to a young generation who can learn about fire safety from the offset.
“Many years of experience has told us that where there are serious or fatal fires in the home, there’s often a pattern of lifestyle factors that increase the likelihood of fire.
“This could be smoking, mobility issues, alcohol misuse, social isolation or mental health difficulties.
“A new Safer Communities Strategy is aiming to improve overall wellbeing. Fire safety will always remain at the heart of what we do, but our traditional home fire safety checks will evolve to become Safe and Well visits. This will require closer working with our partners in the health sector and we will be able to identify people who are vulnerable to health and wellbeing issues, offer basic advice and make referrals to specialist services where necessary.
“The ultimate aim is to prevent tragedies and also to relieve some of the strain on Accident and Emergency departments by taking action before people get to a point of crisis.”
The new Safe and Well visits are being phased in over a two year period across the five districts we cover. In addition to fire safety advice, crews are being given in-depth training by specialists to give basic advice on topics such as:
- Falls prevention
- Smoking cessation
- Crime prevention
- Winter cold
- Social isolation
The new home visit request form and online risk filter is now live on our website here: www.wyfs.co.uk/your-safety/home/home-fire-safety-checks/
Or call 0800 5874536
For more information follow us on Twitter via @WYFRS using #SafeandWell